Monday, December 07, 2009

Dogs as Weapons

I am disturbed by the trend of gangsters using dangerous dogs as weapons.   Typically of the strong jawed terrier type, such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Pit Bull Terriers etc.  We have all heard of - and been sickened by - these animals killing little children.  

We have heard of them being trained to be vicious to fight in illegal dog fighting circles.  We have heard that since crime with guns and knives is being severely punished, the weapon of choice among "hard" men are vicious dogs.  In my own family, we lost a beloved Siamese, Thandi, to a Staffie, and it was a Staffie that nearly killed Brak by snatching him off my scooter, breaking his metal chain link lead and dragging him a good 15 yards.  It was terrifying - I didn't think Brak would survive at all.  

Some dogs are deliberately bred to be vicious, and as pups are rewarded for showing aggressive tendencies, and that is diabolical.  Even working dogs in the Police and Army are not trained to be vicious.  They come from good bloodlines, and they are basically good natured, clever dogs who have been well trained and who want to please their handlers.  Its that devotion to the owner and desire to please that makes them good at what they do.  

When Michelle was about 2yrs old, we went to view some German Shepherd pups of a good bloodline.  We were slightly early and the breeder was slightly late.  Her kennel assistant let us sit in the garden to wait for her.  Michelle was playing and romping with a big male Shepherd in the garden.  When the breeder came, my husband asked if the big male was just a pet.  No, said the breeder.  "He's my Attack Trained Champion"  Well trained dogs from good bloodlines, who have been well socialised as puppies, are highly unlikely to be dangerous.  I don't believe Staffies and Pitbulls have the genes or the intelligence to learn well and act kindly.  It seems to me that when they attack, they are just bundles of raw instinct and will not heed the owners commands to let go.  To my mind, that makes them unreliable and likely to be dangerous. 

I am writing about this tonight because of something that is my Last Straw.  One of those dogs attacked a Blind lady's Guide Dog as she was leaving a railway station.  It was caught on CCTV, and the owner of the other dog fought it for a couple of minutes and when he got his dog off the Labrador, they ran off without offering assistance to a very shaken lady with a seriously injured guide dog.  If you search Google using the terms 'guide dog attacked by dog' you will see lots of articles.  I'm going to paste an article from This is London here (the cctv video footage is on the site) so that if the lout is recognised, someone will tell the Police. 

Pitbull savages woman's guide dog at train station

This is the shocking video of a Labrador guide dog being savagely attacked by a pitbull-cross dog in a railway station subway.

A 57-year-old blind woman was walking through Cricklewood station when her guide dog, Neela, a brown Labrador, was attacked by another dog.

Transport police today issued the images in a bid to trace the violent dog's owner.

Detective Constable Gerry Griffin said: “This dog was not muzzled and was dangerously out of control.

“The woman was extremely distressed and feared for own safety. What made this awful incident even more harrowing was the fact that the man made no effort to assist her or to check that she was alright once the attack was over.”

Her guide dog suffered a deep puncture wound to the neck and is still receiving veterinary treatment after the incident on Sunday, 4 October.

Police say the attack lasted around three minutes.

The pitbull-cross dog's owner kicked and punched his animal to prise it away from the guide dog before both ran off towards Lichfield Road.

The man is described as white, aged mid to late twenties and around 5'11 tall, of slim build.

He had a cropped beard, brownish to red hair, which was cut short. He was wearing a grey- coloured top and black tracksuit bottoms.

The dog is described as a muscular terrier, possibly a cross-breed, brown with white paws, white around its nose and at the tip of its tail.

DC Griffin said: “We have carried out a number of local enquiries and ask that anyone who recognises the man gets in contact with us.

“The owner would do well to hand himself in as his animal poses a clear danger to other dogs and to the public.”

The incident comes amid mounting concern over the number of so-called “weapon dogs” being used by young criminals.

Deputy Mayor for Policing, Kit Malthouse, said: "This is a revolting attack and must have been terrifying for its owner.

"Unfortunately, these types of attacks occur on a daily basis in London. I hear of family pets and other dogs being killed, mutilated or scarred for life as well as people being attacked or intimidated.

"That is why I am calling for tougher penalties for owners who allow their dogs to be aggressive toward others. Serious penalties will make dog owners think twice, but it is also time for us to have a national debate on how to deal with these canine weapons."

Scotland Yard expects to seize more than 1,000 dangerous dogs this year, up from 719 in 2008.

Anyone with information about the Cricklewood attack should British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


There is a happy ending to this tale, this time.  Thanks to the BBC for the good news.

Guide dog recovers after attack

A guide dog has made a full recovery after being savaged by another dog at a north-west London railway station.

The brown labrador, named Neela, was attacked by a terrier-type dog at Cricklewood station in October.

Its visually impaired owner, who did not want to be named, said she was "so relieved" that Neela has recovered well from the "horrendous" ordeal.

British Transport Police received "a lot" of information after the attack but no-one has been arrested.

The attack happened on 4 October when the woman passed a man drinking a can of beer in a station underpass who was with the terrier-type dog.

The unleashed dog ran towards the 57-year-old woman and attacked Neela.

The woman kicked and punched his dog in a bid to stop the attack.

The labrador was left needing emergency veterinary care for deep puncture wounds to its neck.

The woman said: "For her to be attacked in such a vicious way, when she was doing her job assisting me, was a horrendous experience and one I hope no other guide dog owner ever has to go through."

 "The person whose dog it was has no idea of the situation he left me in and the profound effect on the dog, leaving it anxious and in great pain" said Neela's owner.

She added: "It was only through the good luck of a helpful passer by that the police were called to help me.

"I feel the person whose dog it was has no idea of the situation he left me in and the profound effect on the dog, leaving it anxious and in great pain after the attack."

The woman described Neela as a "wonderful" dog and said Neela's recovery and return to work was testament to her "amazing strength, temperament and training".

A spokesman for charity Guide Dogs said: "This was a traumatic experience for the guide dog owner. Happily her dog has made a full recovery.

"However, there have been tragic cases in the past when guide dogs have suffered psychologically - impairing their ability to continue safely guiding their owners."

The man was described by police as white, in his mid to late-20s, around 5ft 11in (1.8m) tall and of slim build.

He had a cropped beard and brownish to red hair which was cut short and was wearing black tracksuit bottoms and a grey top.

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