Restrictions on dog ownership sparks anger
Friday, 20 June 2008
A NORTHSIDE pit-bull owner has hit out at recent claims in the media that her breed of dog is violent and endangers human life.
Following Dublin City Council�s restrictions on dog ownership that were announced last week, a group of local pit-bull owners have banded together to try and counter the image of their dogs as being violent by providing training classes for owners of the controversial breed.
Lillian Colgan, from Artane, whose dog recently completed the course, told Northside People she has owned pit bulls for 21 years.
�I am sick of how they are stigmatised in the media,� she said.
�Thugs are thugs, whether it is with a baseball bat, a gun or a dog; it�s the dog owner who is ultimately responsible for what happens.
�We like to say it�s the deed not the breed; these dogs were bred for fighting animals and are specifically taught not to attack people.�
Ms Colgan argued that you can�t criminalise all dog owners just because some criminals are training these dogs for illegal fighting.�
�We own them as pets,� she insisted.
Ms Colgan explained how dog trainer John Ward helped her and nine other dog-lovers set up a training class at the Swords Estuary Kennels.
�We set up a six-week obedience school where the dogs would come together every week and we never had any trouble,� she stated.
�My 13-year-old son is in a wheelchair and he loves the dog. It waits at the window for him to get home from school and jumps up on him as soon as he is in the door.
�It would be more productive in the prevention of attacks, for which dogs are blamed instead of irresponsible owners, if Dublin City Council were to provide training classes to encourage responsible ownership.�
The city council provoked anger amongst the group of pit bull owners when it announced that all owners of restricted breeds, including pit bulls, must have their dog chipped and neutered as part of a plan to phase the dogs out.
Vincent Healy, senior executive officer, Housing and Residential Services at the city council, warned that any owners who did not comply with the new plans could ultimately face eviction.
�We acknowledge that a number of our tenants are responsible dog owners and have built up a relationship with one of these breeds, and would understandably be upset if they had to give their dog away or have it put down,� said Mr Healy.
�We are happy to allow them to keep their dogs provided they agree to have them micro-chipped and neutered/spayed.
�Where tenants persist in illegally keeping one of the 10 restricted breeds of dog in their home, the council will consider such action to be a breach of tenancy, will issue a Notice to Quit, and this could ultimately lead to eviction.�
Meanwhile, Brenda Comerford, campaigns manager at Dogs Trust Ireland, said they are providing free neutering and micro chipping for the council.
�We at Dogs Trust do not support breed specific legislation,� stated Ms Comerford.
�However, we encourage owners of all breeds to manage their dogs responsibly.
�Neutering will not change your dog, but will result in a less aggressive, more manageable and healthier dog.�
The restricted breeds on the city council�s list are Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Mastiff, Doberman, English Bull Terrier, Alsatian, Japanese Akita, Japanese Tosa, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Bless the Bullys