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Dangerous Dogs
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LordRsmackerOffline
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PostPosted: 04-01-2007 13:00    Post subject: Dangerous Dogs Reply with quote

With the current furore in the British media about dangerous dogs, and that perhaps the legislation brought in in 1991 (Amd. 1997) needs another look, something stirred at the back of my mind.

Does anyone recall, back in the early 1990s, just before the Dangerous Dogs Act was brought in, all the savage dog attacks, many upon children? As I remember, the papers were full of them, not a nip and a bit of chomp here and there, but full-on maulings. Pit-bull terriers, Labradors, Yorkies, Alsatians, Dobermann, Rottweilers, they were all at it. The great-and-the-good were calling for all sorts of large dog breeds to be legislated against, including the latter 3 above, but in the end it was only PBTs, Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Braziliero which were named, along with anything bred specifically for fighting, like the Bandog.

Now, my recollection is that after a couple of Summers, these dog attacks petered out, save the odd exception here and there, as you would expect, despite only a tiny amount of these "dangerous dogs" being destroyed, most being registered, tagged and kept muzzled.

Living close to a large pet-food manufacturer, I also seem to recall someone telling me in a pub they were prevented from putting certain offal into dog food, previously, it all went in. Perhaps these dogs were going mental due to something in the food, maybe infected spinal columns etc. It was around the time BSE raised it's (lolling, drooling) head, and human food manufacturers were stopped from using "everything but the moo".

Certainly dog food these days looks a lot better than it did, I'm sure if I was pissed and someone challenged me, I'd have no problems eating some meaty chunks, but back in the 1980s......? Nah, that was only fit for dogs! Eating dog food back then was a stupid trick, well worth betting someone a fiver to see if they could stomach it.

So, am I just imagining it, or is it possible that certain offal in dog food back in the late 80's/early 90's, maybe BSE related, had a detrimental effect on the pooch population of the UK? Dog attacks like the one earlier this week have thankfully become a rarity, and front-page news, but back then they were coming in at a hell of a rate, and as I say, not just a bite or two, these were people losing faces etc. I'm sure it was more than the media reporting every single dog bite making it seem we were all in danger of being eaten alive by Fido. Why the surge in savage maulings back then (off-hand I think it must have been 1989-1990ish, maybe inc 1991 too)?

And why did these savage attacks cease? With thousands of these "dangerous dogs" still in homes across the UK, why did the maulings stop, surely owners didn't immediately lose all trust in their dog just because the Govt said so (yeah, right!) and kept them muzzled at all times?

Or am I barking up the wrong tree?
Your thoughts, ladies and gentlemen, please.........
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Quake42Offline
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PostPosted: 04-01-2007 13:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And why did these savage attacks cease? With thousands of these "dangerous dogs" still in homes across the UK, why did the maulings stop, surely owners didn't immediately lose all trust in their dog just because the Govt said so (yeah, right!) and kept them muzzled at all times?


I doubt that they ceased. I imagine that the media simply lost interest in it and found some other relatively minor issue to get hysterical about, like new age travellers or similar.
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wembley8Offline
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PostPosted: 04-01-2007 20:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are lots of dog attack statistics online if you look for them, for example these below from the US showing that Pit Bulls are not especially dangerous:

"In this finding, the number of the breed is expressed first, then the number of fatal attacks by the breed and the percentage of dogs in thatbreed who administered the fatal attack.

Numbers registered No. of Fatal Attacks Breed Percentage
240,000 12 Chow Chow .705%8
00,000 67 German Shepherds .008375%
960,000 70 Rottweiler . 0729%
128,000 18 Great Dane .01416 %
114,000 14 Doberman .012288%
72,000 10 St. Bernard .0139%
5,000,000 60 American Pit Bull .0012% "
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LittlegreyladyOffline
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PostPosted: 05-01-2007 14:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

As part of my media studies degree we looked at moral panics and the dog attacks of the 80s was a classic case of that.

it wasn't so much there were more cases, just that after one or two high-profile cases, the media starts reporting on every incident, including ones that wouldn't have normally made it to the news. It gives the impression of there suddenly being an increase.

After the tragedy on Monday, no doubt there will be other cases reported on the back of it.

On the subject of violent breeds, personally I think a lot of it is down to the owners and the training. A mate grew up with a rotweiler as a family pet and said it was very docile. On the other hand, my little sis was bitten by a rotweiler as she walked past a pub - she was only 3 and the dog hadn't been tied up properly. Luckily she was, and is unscarred by the incident.
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RavenstoneOffline
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PostPosted: 05-01-2007 23:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I noticed the Mirror was running a headline story yesterday about "thousands of vicious Pit Bull Terriers" in the country. 1,067 of them registered thanks to "loopholes in the legislation", and (presumably) untold thousands of unregistered ones.

Which beggars the question - why aren't we hearing about these kind of tragedies every day of the week?

We have friends with 3 young children, and the grandparents have a much beloved Jack Russell, which is spoiled rotten. So much so, in fact, that the grandparents have commented that they'd rather the children were locked in the cage than the dog, as why should the dog not have the run of it's home? And believe me, they weren't joking. When this dog comes behind the crawling baby, picks her up by her nappy and shakes her, the dog is merely being 'cute'. This is despite a Jack Russell being more than capable of killing a child.

It's not always the dogs. There are breeds that are far too inbred to be healthy, and epileptic dogs are always unreliable. The problem is when people treat dogs as cuddly toys to be picked up when wanted and put back down when not wanted. They are always surprised when it turns out the animals have got personalities of their own, and are quite capable of a temper tantrum.

The way this case has been reported is interesting. One minute, the girl was quite used to the dog and had been known to pat and cuddle it; the next, her father allegedly forbade her to be in the same house as the dog. There were reports that the owner had been warned several times that the dog was vicious; which transpire to be one complaint when the dog was 6 months old of it attacking another dog, and another complaint for it barking. The old man who allegedly fought it off with a stick was unwitnessed and did not report the matter to the authorities. The press go from referring to the poor child as an 'angel' to being the niece of a convicted drug dealer.

Well, of course, if the media can make even more out of a tragedy they obviously will.
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PeripartOffline
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PostPosted: 06-01-2007 11:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ravenstone wrote:
There were reports that the owner had been warned several times that the dog was vicious; which transpire to be one complaint when the dog was 6 months old of it attacking another dog, and another complaint for it barking.
Barking? well, clearly we can't have dogs doing that, can we? What if the cats wanted to join in? There'd be anarchy!
Quote:
The press go from referring to the poor child as an 'angel' to being the niece of a convicted drug dealer.
In an ideal world, I suppose the two needn't be mutually exclusive.
Quote:
Well, of course, if the media can make even more out of a tragedy they obviously will.

Yes, I was wondering how long before this turns into a full-scale rabies scare. Give it a week...
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wembley8Offline
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PostPosted: 06-01-2007 12:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ravenstone wrote:
why aren't we hearing about these kind of tragedies every day of the week?


Because it's not news - famously -

"Attributed to New York Sun editor John B. Bogart: "When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.""

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_bites_dog_(journalism)

In reality:

"Dog bites send nearly 368,000 victims to hospital emergency departments per year (1,008 per day). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nonfatal Dog Bite–Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments — United States, 2001, MMWR 2003;52:605-610. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report is published by the CDC.

In the US from 1979 to 1996, 304 people in the US died from dog attacks, including 30 in California. The average number of deaths per year was 17. "

http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/statistics.html
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wembley8Offline
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PostPosted: 06-01-2007 12:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

And in the UK from today's paper:

6.8m UK dog population as estimated by Pet Food Manufacturers Association. Of these, 1.6m are mongrels

2.3 People killed by dogs each year. Before Ellie Lawrenson, the most recent fatality was Cadey-Lee Deacon, five months, in September 2006

3,000 The number of people injured by dogs each year

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1983843,00.html
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escargot1Offline
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PostPosted: 06-01-2007 14:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

S'funny how all the 'banned' dogs on Merseyside have suddenly been seized. Could it be that the police knew all along where they were, but didn't act sooner because

a. the dogs were kept discreetly hidden away and so were not a visible danger to the public

and

b. the dogs were kept for fighting, which is an animal welfare rather than a public safety issue and so of little interest to the police?
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RavenstoneOffline
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PostPosted: 06-01-2007 22:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

My money's on the Snail. The police have been forced to act (or over-act, as the case may be).

I wonder what, statistically, is the most 'dangerous' dog? If I read it aright above, the Chow causes the highest fatalities. I wonder if there are statistics corrected to reflect popularity of breed etc.
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escargot1Offline
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PostPosted: 07-01-2007 09:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup. I bet the most dangerous, i.e. bitey breed, would turn out to be a normal family pet type of dog like a Labrador or spaniel. There are more of them and they live with families.

From what I've read, most maulings are done by a dog in the victim's family. The last couple of high-profile dog-deaths in the UK have been exactly that.

Any dog can bite. No matter how much we love them, they are still animals. Wink
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stunevilleOffline
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PostPosted: 07-01-2007 10:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's true - Labradors and Golden Retrievers can notoriously get snappy as they get older. My mate had one of the latter, a great family pet, which suddenly at the age of 11 or so got very short tempered: they thought it must be ill, but according to their vet a lot of them get like this. Grumpy old dogs. The dog died not long after that, but it's character had changed markedly - thankfully the kids were both in their teens by then so just let it be, but when they were younger they were all over it.
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wembley8Offline
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PostPosted: 07-01-2007 10:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

From those stats, Great Danes, Chows and St Bernards are all more dangerous than feared dogs like rottweiler and pit bulls.

Of course they're still animals - that's why people love them.
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drbastardOffline
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PostPosted: 07-01-2007 11:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the BSE question: a relatively small number of domesticated animals undoubtedly developed the equivalent of BSE in the 80's, and they probably went unreported as vets would not have had an understanding of what they were dealing with.

However, it's unlikely that such an afflicted animal would behave savagely. In fact rather the opposite, at least in the initial stages, after which they would'nt be able to coordinate their muscles well enough to commit a savage act even if they wanted to.

As others have said, the rash of cases back then were more to do with the good old British media whipping up a crusade, as per usual.
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wembley8Offline
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PostPosted: 07-01-2007 12:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

drbastard wrote:
On the BSE question: a relatively small number of domesticated animals undoubtedly developed the equivalent of BSE in the 80's, and they probably went unreported as vets would not have had an understanding of what they were dealing with.


Why do you say that? AFAIK vets have a pretty good understanding of this - the species jump was a hot topic in the vet world at the time - and the feline equivalent has been tracked for some time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feline_spongiform_encephalopathy
Like the mink one -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmissible_mink_encephalopathy

What puzzles me is that scrapie, the sheep equivalent, has been around since the 18th century without anyone being bothered.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrapie

In any case, what would this have to do with attacks?
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