The story of little Lexi killed by her family's dog is of course tragic. At this moment in time I cannot comprehend the heartache and torment her mother must be going through and for that my heart goes out to Lexi's family.
However as I read more and more facts about yet another dog attack I am more and more concerned about the growing ignorance and downright stupidity displayed by many dog owners and rescue centres/kennels. The facts as I know them from reading many news sources are:
- The dog was previously a stray, re-homed in the last couple of months by Orchard Kennels and Cattery, in Barrow-upon-Soar.
- The kennels apparently told the family the dog was safe around children
- The dog was known to have displayed questionable behaviour in the past,
- It was a relatively large bulldog - I say relatively as according to the photos Lexi was tiny and in comparison the dog looks absolutely huge
- It was not classed as a dangerous dog under the Dangerous Dogs Act
- The property Lexi and her mother lived in was a one-bed apartment where the tenancy agreement banned the keeping of dogs
First of all, what were the staff at the kennels in question thinking when they said the dog is safe with children? I don't care how "soft as butter" your dog is, no dog (mine included) is safe to be left unattended around children. All it takes is for a child to pull the animal's tail, look at it the wrong way or do something to startle the animal and you have a situation on your hands. Children are just as unpredictable as animals in their behaviour and to leave both alone together is a recipe for disaster. Additionally this dog had issues - issues that no doubt would have been overcome in time had it been given the chance, but after being re-homed only 2 months ago those issues would still be there.
Secondly... what home checks were done by the kennels? By the sounds of things none. What the actual F***??????? What irresponsible idiot decided a relatively large dog was safe to be re-homed in a property that sounds barely big enough to swing a cat and that's even before I get into the subject of dogs being prohibited at that property?
All this being said, the family should have displayed some common sense. Knowing your dog potentially has behaviour issues then leaving it unattended with your child is in my mind the height of stupidity. Knowing your tenancy agreement bans dogs, and adopting one anyway is in breach of contract. I could go on, but I think I have made my point.
Now I bet you are wondering, what do I know about this? Well, my oldest dog, Lilly, was a dog with issues when we re-homed her from a rescue 3 years ago. The rescue in question made us fully aware of this and worked with us to help her settle in. They also did a very thorough home check to ensure that the home was suitable for her and we were told we had to do things before we could re-home her.
Lilly had come from a very loving home but unfortunately had been attacked by another dog and as such quite rightly hated all dogs meaning her previous owners couldn't keep her with their other dogs. In the year following us adopting her, Lilly's survival instinct was very strong and as such there were minor altercations with other dogs because in her mind she attacked before she could be attacked. I should point out here that not once did she harm a human being. By building her trust in us those altercations have become less and less and we have now been able to rescue a puppy to keep her company. We have stayed in touch with people from the rescue we got her from so everyone has been able to see her amazing progress from what the media would call a "dangerous dog" to a placid soft as butter type. All that being said, I am still on my guard with with her and our puppy and would NEVER leave my future children and my dogs together unattended. As I said at the beginning, I am a dog owner with common sense.
In very stark terms another animal is dead because of questionable human behaviour and yet again the old argument about dangerous dogs raises its ugly head. I completely agree there must be protection when animals attack but the Dangerous Dogs Act is an absolute joke and in reality protects no one. Instead it promotes witch-hunt behaviour for certain dog breeds, allowing dangerous humans to get away with what can only be described as murder.
How about focusing on the owners and other humans involved in these cases: no animal is born dangerous but they can learn to be that way due to the way they are treated. In my view the kennels in question should be prosecuted for this attack but instead all that is heard is yet another attack by a dangerous dog.
RIP to both souls lost