By Jane Wrench
So yesterday, I had the pleasure of being involved in the Bullies In Need Fun Day. The sun shone, the people arrived, fun was had and money was raised. And it made me realise how important days like this are. The Bull Breeds have undergone a huge change of image in recent times. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier came about in or around the 17th century when they were known as the Bull and Terrier or Pit Dog and were a cross between the Bulldog and some terrier. The introduction of the Humane Act, 1835, saw an outlawing of dog fighting and the breed was renamed the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. It was 1935 before the breed was recognised by the Kennel Club. The breed is renowned for it's tenacity, loyalty, reliability and affinity with people. It is the only breed to have the words 'totally reliable' in its breed standard and one of only two breeds, from over 190 recognized by the UK Kennel Club, to have a mention of the breed's suitability with children.
So what happened? How did this much loved breed fall to being perceived as a "natural born killing machine"?
People......people are what happened. And the media.
Dogs (of any breed) are now seen as property, commodities, disposable and status symbols. In past times, a dog was also a status symbol, but of wealth not fear-ability. They were valued. I am not a bleeding heart or ignorant. I am not going to say dog attacks don't happen. They do. They are not however, all instigated by a Bull Breed. The media plays it's part in spoon-feeding the general public information. For every dog bite inflicted by this breed, there must be dozens involving other breeds. They don't make the national press. I'm not going to get into bite pressure and all that but, yes, some breeds can cause more damage than others but that doesn't mean they are born any more aggressive. When an incident occurs, generally the dog ends up dead and the owner gets a slap on the wrist. That is like giving a drunk driver a strong talking to and crushing his car. We are responsible for driving our cars safely, raising our children respectfully and training our dogs responsibly. Dog attacks will never be stopped, or at least lessened, until the problem is tackled differently.
Yesterday I watched hundreds of dogs ( Bull Breeds, Labs, Lurchers, Chihuahuas, Chi-Poo, Shar Pei, Rottie, Malamute, Poms, Yorkies, Chinese Crested, Crosses/Mongrels, Poodles, Dachshund ) walk around, socialise, mingle and behave. They were a credit to themselves but more so to the people holding the leads.
Having a dog in your family is a privilege, not a right. Having a dog is a choice. Being a responsible owner is mandatory. Hats off to everyone who attended yesterday. Actions speak louder than words and yesterday yours spoke volumes xxx