An article from Bradford’s ‘Telegraph & Argus’, published on 28th September 2013, describes Vicki Gill’s complaint against the police after two dogs, described as being of “Bull Terrier type”, found their way into her family’s garden and killed their pet rabbit in its hutch. The police officer who responded to her 999 call told Vicki that it was a civil case and gave her £100 from the owner of the dogs. Despite feeling that this was “not good enough”, she accepted the money before making an official complaint against the officer.
What interested me most about the article was the quote included from Terry Singh, the general manager of RSPCA Bradford & District. After confirming that it was an offence to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control in a non-public place where it is not permitted to be, Singh continued:
“Things start with these dogs attacking small animals. They get the taste of blood, which could lead to them turning on the public. If claims are being made about these dogs being dangerous, police should be investigating them thoroughly.”
Can a “taste of blood” really make a dog more likely to bite a member of the public? Consider the increasing number of dogs in the UK that are being fed the ‘Bones and Raw Food’ diet. Are they more likely to bite than my Fox Terrier, fed on dry kibble? What about the average spaniel that plays a little too rough and accidently draws blood on its owner’s hand? Are we about to be threatened by an army of bloodthirsty gundogs who, after tasting the blood from the fallen game that they retrieve, have turned into hairy, four-legged versions of ‘Bruce’ the Great White Shark from Finding Nemo? It is a shame that the manager of an RSPCA branch appears to believe this old wives tale that has long been ridiculed by veterinarians and dog behaviourists alike, yet serves as a ‘scary’ quote intended to frighten readers.
There is no disputing the fact that the video showing the attack, which was captured on the family’s CCTV system, is distressing. As a rabbit owner myself, I know that I would be inconsolable if my own rabbits had been killed in this way. Along with working terriers and Sighthounds, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and other such types are known to have a high prey drive, which is why rescue Staffies are rarely rehomed with small animals. However, this does not mean that they are more likely than any other breed to attack a person. Staffies and English Bull Terriers that are raised in a family environment are known for their gentle nature, and that the term “Nanny dog” is associated with Staffies is becoming an increasingly well-known fact. Unfortunately, it is commonplace for the gentle Staffie or English Bull Terrier to be crossed with other breeds, making them into a much more powerful dog that can be turned into an aggressive weapon by the criminals who use them for dogfighting or simply as a status symbol. The dog in the video which managed to break into the hutch certainly appears to be far too large to be a purebred English Bull Terrier.
If no further action is taken, then perhaps another incident will occur. Perhaps it won’t. If it does, it will be the result of the owner not keeping his dogs under control. Not as the result of a taste for blood.
See the original article here at: http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/10704479.Mum_s_concern_as____out_of_control____dogs_kill_family_pet/