Tag Archive: RSPCA


Well, my recent article about dangerous dogs has certainly got you talking and I received a number of emails concerning readers’ experiences when out walking their own dogs or when with their children/grandchildren. A number of the stories were quite disturbing and it is clearly evident that something urgently needs to happen to the cowardly thugs who abuse, brandish and goad these poor animals into action. Continue reading

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A CRITICAL FRIEND

What would we do without vets? I know, it’s something most of us prefer not to think about. Of course we all have the odd grumble about the profession (and as a bird keeper/breeder I’ve had more than my fair share of negative experiences with vets who clearly hadn’t got a clue in this admittedly specialist field of expertise) but on the whole, in our hour of need, it’s certainly reassuring to have a good vet nearby.

However, I am increasingly alarmed by the rise of a certain degree of militancy within the veterinarian field. For some reason this thinking is more prevalent among the younger vets in our towns and cities although I certainly haven’t encountered it in our excellent local rural practice, which, contradicting what I have just written, is solely staffed by young vets! Continue reading

Dog lovers were outraged to see a Facebook post by Alan Tobin, an Irish politician, about his delight that breed specific legislation had been brought in, affecting owners in his constituency. This was in Dog World on 25 May 2016.

As many of you who read this column regularly know, I’m not the biggest fan of the internet age and social media. Obviously it has brought us huge benefits, not least being able to track down the girl that played Nancy in your junior school production of Oliver.

But along with these dubious benefits of ‘connectivity’ comes some serious negatives. There’s the time many of us waste maintaining the numerous casual relationships fostered on social media sometimes at the neglect of our most important and meaningful relationships here in the ‘real’ world. And, of course, we have the growing incidences of cyberbullying, witch-hunts and the wildfire-like spread of malicious gossip that we all too commonly see in various forums. All very nasty and something I’ve actively tried to avoid. Continue reading

From my Crossing the headlines column in Dog World (13 April 2016) I reflect on the case of Baby the Bulldog whose abusive owners were let off lightly.

Reading through the newspapers there are many, many times that you literally despair at the depths of depravity mankind can sink to and one story I read last week really made me wonder what on earth has gone wrong with some of our young people today and it seriously makes me fear for the future.

Andrew and Daniel Frankish’s hideous crime only came to light, two years after the offences had been committed, all because of a sim card being discovered on the floor of a supermarket. When the footage contained on the card was played it revealed truly harrowing footage of two brothers systematically torturing their pet Bulldog. Continue reading

From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (27th November 2015) about the misrepresentations in the national press on rescue charity intake statistics.

An interesting headline caught my eye in the Telegraph last week, ‘Pedigree dog owners abandoning their pets in alarming numbers’.

The article written by Patrick Sawyer went on to say that, “Welfare groups have warned that owners of pedigree dogs are abandoning their pets in alarming numbers after finding that they cannot cope with health problems caused by ‘irresponsible’ breeding.” Continue reading

A feature article written for Dog World (14th April 2015) looking at how the media portrays dogs and dog ownership.

Years ago, when still at college, I briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a journalist. Then, in the autumn of 1991, by a series of strange coincidences, I met a lady that would completely turn that idea on its head.

She was an American soul singing megastar and we were to be friends for the next ten or so years. Whenever she came to the UK I would hang out with her, go backstage at her shows, go to dinner, to rehearsals and travel to swanky hotels in the shiniest of stretch limousines. A pretty fantastic experience for an impressionable youth and from the outside it did indeed look like the perfect lifestyle however one only had to dig not too very far beneath the beautiful veneer to uncover a world rife with paranoia and the irritant of constantly being watched, the bane of this woman’s life were journalists and the media – especially the British media who, back then, were notoriously brutal.  Continue reading

From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (8th April 2015).

I recently wrote a blog on how our thoughts and ideas change over the years. Things we were passionate about as teens are probably not as relevant when we are in our 40s and 50s (which is probably no bad thing if you were a New Kids on The Block fan) but reading some recent press releases made me think about how such changes aren’t just limited to people they also occur in the groups and societies we may have once supported. Continue reading

From my Dog World column ‘Crossing the headlines’ (12th November 2014).

A few days ago an elderly neighbour from several doors down knocked. I was quite surprised to open the door and find her standing there as we have only ever exchanged the usual polite pleasantries but I immediately knew something was troubling her.

Wringing her hands she said the words I suppose many of us dread; “I hear you know a bit about dogs… I wonder if you could help me?” Continue reading

From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (8th October 2014).

One of the joys of living in this country is being able to walk into a store like WH Smith or any one of our large supermarkets and being able to flick through the vast array of glossy magazines on offer on a mind-boggling amount of subjects. I find it incredible that subjects like model trains or stitchcraft, etc, can support three or four dedicated, high quality magazines – but somehow they do. Continue reading

From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (7th May 2014) where I question various studies into crossbreed health and longevity.

Carrying on with the positive legacy from Crufts, wasn’t it good to read the findings of the Royal Veterinary College last week? Scientists analysed the data of 148,741 dogs expecting to prove the conventional wisdom that selective breeding makes the pedigree dog more susceptible to serious conditions but, to their surprise, they discovered (what time working in boarding kennels had proved to me already) that both the mongrel and the pedigree have broadly the same chance of developing the most common health problems. In fact, for degenerative joint disease, the mongrel was found to be more vulnerable. This study’s findings echoed those published back in June 2013 by researchers at the University of California at Davis. Continue reading