If I was to blog about a notice erected by a Local Authority in Ireland indicating that the amenity they set up with public funds was off limits to people of certain nationalities – lets say German, Zimbabwean, American, English, or Japanese – because the ignorance of received wisdom indicated they were more agressive than other nationalities and especially the indigenous population, there would be an outcry and jobs would be lost. Only right I hear you say (sometimes it’s amazing how I hear your voice in my head dear reader), discrimination is repugnant and should be eradicated.
Does this sign exist? Technically yes, but not in reference to humans. The sign refers to certain breeds of dog. Now before you click that button or tap that screen and move on thinking ‘crank’ (there I go again reading your mind), give me a minute to explain. I’m actually more a cat person than a dog person but living creatures are living creatures. I especially feel we have a responsibility for treating species we had the cheek to domesticate and then play with their characteristics through selective breeding. That’s why my blood boils when I see a sign banning certain breeds of dog from having the same opportunities as other dogs due to having charcteristics we humans bred into them, and because of the ignorance of people who believe that one type of dog is more agressive than another. It’s rare a dog is born agressive, owners make aggressive dogs through stupidity and neglect.
In a park a short distance from where I live, South Dublin County Council (SDCC) have provided a fenced off area where dogs can be let off their lead to run free with other dogs. At the entrance to this area there’s a notice warning the public that the following breeds of dog are not permitted to enter the area- “American Pit Bull Terrier, English Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, German Shepherd Dog (GSD), Rottweiler, Bull Mastiff, Doberman Pinscher, Japanese Tosa, Japanese Akita, Rhodesian Ridgeback or any cross breed of the above”. Ironically if you rescue a complete mutt with no family history that dog can use the dog run (once it doen’t look German or Japanese I assume).
I admit the sign bugged me because I’ve had a succession of German Shepherds (the dogs not sheep farmers from Germany – that would be illegal) and not a single one of them were ever aggressive. In fact the current old guy cries in fear if another dog bigger than a rabbit even approaches him and he has been known to try to hide behind his pal (a Pomeranian!). It also irritated me on another level, because it demonstrates a sad trend for institutional ignorance where facts are ignored and ‘common sense’ based on urban legend or the collective voice of those who shout loudest prevails. Make bad owners responsible for their actions not the animals.