From my Dog World opinion column ‘Crossing the headlines’ (8th May 2013)
With the recent tragic death of fourteen year old Jade Anderson, once again the spotlight has been fully focussed upon the problem of ‘dangerous dogs’. It is a very emotive subject and a difficult one to tackle – so difficult in fact that successive governments (since the disastrous introduction of the Dangerous Dog Act in 1991) have promised action but constantly failed to deliver.
I’ve always believed the core of this problem lies in our cities and recent findings by Dr Simon Harding of Middlesex University seems to bear this out. He said, “dangerous dogs are being bred by young men as a business asset in drug deals, debt collection and for gang image”.
From the letters page of Dog World (5th April 2013)
In the spring of 1991 (aged seventeen) I ‘bunked off’ from a long and boring day of A-Level Economic History lectures and caught the train to Earls Court to the very last Crufts to be held in London. This year (twenty-two years later) I made my belated return to Crufts and, although vastly different to the show I remembered all those years ago (now with its myriad of trade stalls and all its associated glitz and razzmatazz), one thing clearly hadn’t changed and that was the sheer dedication and passion of those people supporting their respective breeds.
From the letters page of Dog World (8th March 2013)
A few nights ago I was flicking through the TV channels at home and, despite the vast array of channels, as usual, there was precious little worth watching. However, I did have the misfortune of stumbling across a documentary on BBC3 focussing on the every day lives of the inhabitants of the Harpurhey council estate in Manchester. Now, the only thing that held my attention was the sight of a litter of eight ‘boxer’ puppies – eight snow-white puppies galloping through the kitchen and front room of a crowded two up two down styled terraced house. I was intrigued and continued watching. It turned out that the couple owned an almost-identical pair of white ‘boxers’ (siblings?) and, of course, the inevitable happened and a litter was born. The programme followed the couple’s desperate attempts to find the pups new homes before they sank beneath an unrelenting sea of faeces and urine! A friend later told me that the previous week’s episode showed a couple whose pair of ‘chihuahuas’ had given birth to a litter of five pups.
From the letters page of Dog World (22nd February 2013)
I am surprised at the widespread blanket acceptance of the recent compulsory microchipping announcement. It seems everyone from the Kennel Club to the Blue Cross and obviously the Veterinary Association welcomes the proposals with open arms. I found it strange that such a monumental move didn’t bring about any dissenting voices. Maybe, I thought, this was one of those rare cases where everyone was ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ but, with a bit of research, I discovered this wasn’t the case.