Are pitbulls aggressive or is it that the human caretaker is aggressive? - photo Rebekah Pavlovic (Flickr)
22nd August 2010: The Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is dealing with aggressive dogs by killing them. That means that the people who are training aggressive dogs and then abandoning them are in effect killing them. This is a growing problem in England. I don't know if it is a growing problem in the US or the rest of Europe.
I think this is an important indicator of the problems in society generally in the UK. And as such it is also important in respect of all companion animals including our dear cats.
Scott Craddock, director of operations at the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home says, “Battersea is mopping up a lot of the problems that are happening outside of the home. Big society problems..."
The home took in 3,600 Staffordshire Bull Terriers last year compared to 396 in 1996 only 4 years ago. This is a 900% increase. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the dog breed most often trained to be aggressive it seems.
This dog is almost a status symbol for inadequate men who are lacking in social skills, self-esteem and education.
The problem is that they train them to be aggressive and then find that they are uncontrollable and abandon them. This is irresponsible behavior on the level of declawing your cat. As it happens both scenarios can lead to the death of the companion animal.
As these aggressive dogs need their own cage at Battersea, they are a problem as they occupy much needed space. In consequence a large number are killed - in fact almost 70% are killed and they are all healthy (that is why I have not used the word "euthanised").
For me, and I think, some of my regular visitors will agree, this is a reflection of the modern "throw away" society that is gradually losing its moral bearings.
Society in the UK has become more aggressive, less caring, less polite and more competitive. The gap between the rich and poor is as wide as ever, even wider. So much for a fair society.
Society is dealing with aggressive dogs by killing them because that is all that there is left to do. The answer is to stop the breeding and training of them. And the answer to that is almost impossible to find because the problem is deep seated within society and its mismanagement by governments.
The underlying problems that cause the death of these dogs is the same or similar to the those that results in the abuse of the cat, cat killing and cat abandonment.
In order to improve the welfare of our companion animals we must look to improving the education and prospects of our most disadvantaged people.
On a more technical note, here are some tips on dealing with an aggressive dog:
I think, by the way, that there is a clear overlap with how to deal with so called aggressive cats. Cats are not naturally aggressive - more defensive. We should respect the cat that is defensive and scared - see Aggressive Cat Behavior. Cat behavior is often an extension of our behavior.
The author of www.dog-pictures.co.uk says this, "Approaching suddenly, bending over the dog or patting it on the head or back are dominant and threatening gestures and may cause a dog to react by biting". When approached by an aggressive dog, the answer is to stay still, avoid eye contact and speak gently. The commands, "sit" and "stay" said softly make work. The problem once again is often ours. Dogs and cats both react instinctively and our actions can trigger a reaction that we find unsatisfactory!
See more on dealing with an aggressive dog.