Thursday, August 25, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
There was recently a tragic dog attack in Melbourne where a toddler was killed. This kind of emotive reporting from The Australian newspaper about the issue has the public calling, once again, for a breed ban. The article itself states the dog was a pitbull cross but doesn't state how it was identified, and it recounts other recent serious dog attacks which involved Bull-Mastiff crosses, pig hunting dogs and a Siberian Husky.
This kind of reporting, with the typical emotive quote from someone who is far from a dog expert, is very common here:
"I don't mind saying I hate seeing these dogs walking the streets," Superintendent Graham Kent said. "They look mean -- they usually are."
The proposed solution - banning all pitbulls and pitbull crosses is a reflection of a society where if anything upsets enough people - it is banned or heavily regulated. Pitbulls are already heavily regulated. They must be sterilised, there are requirements about the houses they are kept in, they must be on leash and muzzled at all times in public. They can not be imported. These rules mean that for pitbulls to even exist in Australia in the first place, they have come from shadowy corners of society. They have a reputation for being stoic, fierce and loyal and that is why shadowy people want them.
If there were no pitbulls (or dogs that look like pitbulls but aren't necessarily), another powerful, stoic, guarding type breed would become the favorite of these people - Rottweilers perhaps, or Dobermanns, and they would be the next dog on the banned list.
Some argue that tougher criminal penalties should apply to the owners of dogs that attack unprovoked. That may well be the case, but another route that is available is the civil one - sue for compensation. That is a route that is available in the here and now. Then the facts of the case can be examined in the open light of day instead of a partial story being trumpeted by an emotion fuelling media who are just in it to get more hits to their webpages.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I met this dog in the Pyrenees in a town called Bareges. We were in town looking for somewhere to get dinner, and I decided to check out an outdoor store. I had decided I needed a new rucksack, because the kit bag that I bought to carry my clothes around in was showing signs of breaking at an inopportune time (maybe when I was trying to haul it to a tight train connection, along with rolling the massive Samsonite suitcase which contained my Bike Friday). He was hanging around outside the shop, and seemed totally disinterested in me until I called him 'chiot'. Then he came trotting over for some attention. I saw him again the next night, and I called to him. He trotted towards me but then got distracted by another dog which was with it's owner in the nearby park. I never figured out who his owner was, he had a collar but he seemed to just wander freely all over town.
This kitty was the first campsite-kitty that we met. We were hanging out in the common room in Olonne-Sur-Mer, and watching Sarah Connor Chronicles on my tiny netbook. We then heard fireworks (it was the pre-tour-de-france party), so Nic went rushing outside. I saw kitty sitting on a tree stump just outside, so I started talking to him. Unlike the dogs, the cats didn't seem to have a language barrier. I think maybe cats don't recognise as many individual words, and go more by body language than dogs do. Anyway, he came into the common room and had a good smooch. After the fireworks, one of the campsite staff came to lock up the common room, and he told me the kitty did many 'bad things' around the campsite. He couldn't really specify what those bad things were, language barrier again, but regardless of his alleged misdeeds, I thought he was lovely, if a little dirty.
We met this kitty when we stopped for lunch - we had been to the local patisserie and bought lunch, and sat down on a park bench to eat. I spotted this kitty staring us down from it's position on a nearby side street. After I'd finished eating I decided to say hello. It didn't take much before this kitty was purring and carrying on! There was another cat nearby who was sitting underneath a parked car, but it didn't want to chat. It showed a passing interest but when N tried to get near it, it retreated further underneath the car.
We took a wrong turn trying to follow the bike path to Karlsruhe and ended up meeting this kitty. She was strutting along the path, probably on patrol, or on the hunt. She actually acknowledged us as we were riding towards her with a little 'brrrt', so I had to stop for a pat.
This kitty was also in Bareges. We stayed at that campground for 4 or 5 nights, and we only saw this kitty once. It came to investigate our tent and figure out if we were approved to be on it's turf. Turned out to be a friendly kitty, but it went home after it was satisfied we should be permitted to camp on it's land.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
See! That is one fluffy greyhound butt! For those of you who don't have greyhounds, the butt area is where they often lose hair in kennel environments!
She does have a couple of flaky spots which Leigh pointed out to me before we left - one on her thigh, and there is one on her chest. He said he had been watching and hadn't seen her licking it so I am not that worried. I'm sure it will clear up with her indoor life but she will moult all of that beautiful fur she has grown too, so I will have to make the most of it.
Understandably, after 47 days they were very happy to see us.
As we left though, it seemed that the dogs were quite attached to Leigh. They both had eyes on him until we pulled out of sight. When we got home we didn't leash them, they both went straight to the front door and Barbie practically pushed past Nic to get inside. They both pranced around the house to investigate. Bender spent more time snuffling around as there were two people he didn't know in the house during the time we had been gone. Neither paid any attention to the cats. Froufrou got up in Barbie's face, and Barbie just ignored her. Bender almost trampled her as if she didn't exist. Both of the cats seemed a bit put out that the house, and the humans, were no longer exclusively theirs.