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 (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
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
From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (9th April 2014) where I review the documentary, ‘Dangerous Dogs’.
MY FIRST experience of a ‘dangerous dog’ was back in the spring of 1992. I’d accompanied my mum to Tottenham Cemetery to tidy up my grandmother’s grave after the winter. Her grave lay in front of a low retaining wall and, while we knelt down, clearing away the dead flowers from our previous visit, there came a low, rumbling sound from above. We looked up and, standing on a wall, fixing us with its yellow eyes, was a mustard-coloured dog with a head the size and shape of a breezeblock – a pitbull.
Images of dogs exactly fitting the one that now snarled above us had been splashed across the papers and TV for months.
Mum wanted to run but I whispered for her to ‘stay put and don’t look at it’. So, we crouched there, hearts hammering, frozen like statues, but still its threatening growls grew louder. Slowly I glanced up and noticed that we weren’t the focus of its attention after all; I followed its steely gaze to the flapping cellophane that wrapped our fresh flowers. Tentatively I moved my hand bringing it down firmly upon the noisy wrapping. Suddenly the dog’s owner appeared, yelled some expletives at it and followed these with some kicks and punches before slipping an old piece of rope around the unfortunate creature’s neck and dragging him away. Continue reading
From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (6th November 2013) where I review more new TV documentaries on dogs and the promotion of designer dogs.
So, has the Kennel Club at long last decided to change direction? What with the announcement that crossbreeds will not now be registered and then the change of heart over CC allocation, could it really be true that the KC is now listening to the hardworking breed clubs and councils and, most importantly, the exhibitors?
From a personal point, it’s also been gratifying to have many of my arguments (put forward in this column and seized upon elsewhere) justified.
Maybe now the KC could look across the pond and listen to what the new AKC chairman has recently said:”We will immediately and aggressively respond to any attack utilising our partners, our supporters and our full media assets.”
This is exactly the kind of weapons needed to fend off further attacks from the BBC. Wouldn’t it be good to have our KC put a little of its recent £12m windfall aside for a similar media response or publicity venture?
Far too often, TV shows are broadcast that slate pedigree dogs and their owners and make all sorts of inaccurate statements with absolutely no response or comeback. Continue reading
From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (9th October 2013) where I review recent TV documentaries on dogs.
Having seen the success ITV has enjoyed with its plethora of dog related shows it seems the BBC has decided that it too wants a piece of the action and so it brought us ‘The Wonder of Dogs’. The programme promised to investigate why this “single species comes in such an array of shapes and sizes” and the team also aimed to find out “how the extraordinary genetics of modern dogs underlies the extreme differences we see between the breeds”.
Hearing that promise and those lofty aims combined with the fact the show was being produced by the BBC immediately set alarm bells ringing and it was a feeling obviously shared by many others as one wag posted on Facebook, “has everyone got Ofcom’s address to hand!” Continue reading