I have just watched the ITV programme aired last night called ‘Dangerous Dogs’ which is still available on iPlayer for anyone who is interested to watch, https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/dangerous-dogs/series-1/episode-1
I rarely watch these types of programmes and was extremely hesitant to watch this one as, like many others, I am a real animal lover and often find these reaction provoking programmes difficult to stomach and I suppose it’s often a case of ignorance is bliss. I have grown up surrounded by cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, hamsters and whole lot more and can honestly never remember a time in my life I didn’t have an animal in my life. When it comes to animal cruelty I am guilty of letting my emotions get the better of me which is why I can be reluctant to discuss it as we are all aware that being too emotional leads to saying things you may not necessarily mean! After watching the programme I thought that I would share my thoughts on here. Although the programme was titled ‘Dangerous Dogs’, for me it wasn’t about that at all. It highlighted the growing problem we have here in the UK of irresponsible owners and breeders. Although I am aware cruelty and abuse cases can’t all be generalised there are common threads which run through a number of these cases, not just the ones highlighted on the programme. The stand out condition for me is the inappropriate surroundings and living conditions for these dogs. In so many cases these animals are kept in extremely small properties, often with a number of residents as well as dogs kept inside leading to a great deal of overcrowding and on top of this no real routine is established. One bedroom high-rise flats are not appropriate for two medium sized dogs along with a litter of ten puppies to be living in. The lack of exercise and correct exercise also seems to be apparent which understandably leads to a whole number of behavioural issues and something which is a major problem. Every animal needs to have the correct environment and exercise in order to be well mentally. Although a 45 minute television programme doesn’t give a clear and full picture, the properties in which these dogs were kept in, to me, all looked the same. The properties were dull, dirty and every single owner shown on the programme were disinterested.
For me the problem is irresponsible owners, often not intentionally, and many owners lack the knowledge or experience of dealing with dogs. Undoubtedly there are ‘trends’ when it comes to dogs and breeding and this is a major concern for those working towards ending animal cruelty. How anyone can repeatedly breed from an undernourished dog and continue to sell puppies who are not old enough to leave their mothers is shocking, yet it seems to be big business for so many. You only need to look on Gum Tree and such websites to see hundreds of adverts selling dogs for as little as £10, which often attracts another irresponsible owner creating a viscous cycle.
I try to discuss and debate things from a relatively neutral position and do try and understand both sides to a story, however I find it nearly impossible to do so with this issue. Although I have a great deal of practical experience with animals and hold qualifications in equine science I am in no way claiming to be an expert on this problem. For me a starting point would be to enforce strict regulations as to who and how you can get a dog. Of course there are always people who will find a way and some sort of animal licensing or ownership tests would be hard to regulate but it seems like it may be a starting point. One thing I feel strongly about it that harsher penalties need to be put in place for those who abuse animals. Knowledge is power and people need to be educated about canine behaviour and needs. There seems to be this horrible trend of dominating animals, being aggressive along with aggressive body language leads to dogs to be frightened and when natural instincts kick in the dog is left with two options. Flight or fight.
I would love to hear peoples opinions as well as stories about your dogs or pets! I will leave you with a few pictures of my labrador Rolo when he was younger.