Got this off the BSL list. Wasn't quite sure where to put it:
Dog pulling should go the way of fighting and baiting
IT is quite surprising that the dog remains mans' best
friend in light of the abuse some receive at the hands
of their thoughtless owners.
While not as grotesque or cruel as dog-fighting or
badger baiting, the Scottish Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is quite right to
condemn the latest animal freak show to hit our shores
- dog pulling - the first ever Scottish event being
staged in the Lothians at the weekend. It may have
taken place in a sports centre, but sport it most
Competing in weight categories dogs were expected to
pull heavily laden sledges across the ground. One
unfortunate animal was tasked with trying to pull a
sled loaded up with 2100lb - roughly the weight of 15
fully grown men.
Naturally the competition attracts owners of
heavyweight breeds dogs such as bulldogs and bull
terriers. Organised by the American-based United
Pulling Federation the event could only go ahead
because it was staged indoors, as it is illegal to
make dogs pull loads on a public highway under the
1912 Protection of Animals Act. The Act was introduced
to stop what was regarded at the time as the cruel
practice of making dogs pull carts, generally on
delivery rounds. Had it been envisaged at the time
that such practice would be developed into a "sport"
it is virtually certain that the Act would have been
extended to cover all premises and not just highways.
The SSPCA is now seeking to have this loophole closed,
calling for stricter guidelines to prevent further
competitions being staged at any venue and is calling
for venues themselves to refuse to take bookings. They
say it is not only cruel but fear dogs that have not
been properly trained in pulling excessive loads could
easily be injured.
From the evidence they have seen they say that some
dogs are clearly unaccustomed to such tasks and simply
incapable of dealing with the loads their owners were
trying to encourage them to pull.
It is sad to see that some dog owners seem unable to
derive pleasure alone from owning and caring for a dog
in return for love and affection and only seem to be
able to gain some degree of perverse satisfaction from
pushing an animal to beyond its limits of strength and
Such abuse should be outlawed and dog pulling should
go the way of fighting and baiting and be classed as
illegal, as the law no doubt intended.
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Last updated: 11-Apr-06 11:04 BST