Dog attacks – legislation isn’t the answer

This dog came in to us last winter with some dreadful injuries, it looked as though he might have been savaged by another dog.   Thankfully he made a full recovery.   An article in one of the Sunday newspapers says that the incidence of dogs attacking other dogs is on the increase and that the Guide Dogs for the Blind association is calling on the government to make it compulsory to microchip every dog.    Something obviously has to be done but we doubt that compulsory microchipping is the answer.   We take in stray dogs, which the Guide Dogs association doesn’t do, and we have a lot of experience in dealing with dogs that are microchipped.    It’s a great idea for those caring and responsible owners who have lost their pet.   It enables you to track a missing pet and anyone finding the dog can get him or her back to his owner.

Unfortunately, most of the others dogs that come in to us, even though microchipped, are not traced back to their owners.   We rarely find out whose dog they are.   When we phone the name on the microchip documents the response is usually something like ‘No, I sold him two years ago” or ‘I moved house and gave the dog to the neighbours” or “It was the girl friend’s dog and we’ve split up,” or  ”Not me, luv, I’ve never had a dog.”     So in our many years of experience, anyone who has a dog that is untrained and likely to get in to trouble or is no longer wanted, won’t be acknowledging the dog as belonging to anyone.    The microchip only works with people who love their dog and look after him well.

We believe that education is the answer.   Advising dog owners how to choose the right pet is essential and also providing an insight into  dog behaviour.   Dogs are territorial creatures and a lot of male dogs will fight if given the chance.   Some breeds are more likely than others to ‘have a go’.   We’ll be glad to advise and help if we can.   Training people to understand their dogs and look after them correctly is the best way forward.  Are there dog (and other animal) behavioural classes in schools?    It would be a popular subject and could save a lot of heartbreak later on.