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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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That’s another fine mess my owner’s got me into

It is heartbreaking to hear that more than 400 stray dogs were seized in Carlisle over the past year.

The dogs are found roaming the streets and have to be sent to refuges across the region for care.

Some are reunited with their neglectful owners, others take up to two years to find a new home.

The shocking figures were revealed in a report on dog fouling which was being discussed by councillors today.

As ever, it is not the fault of the dogs, but the owners.

It is obvious that it is far too easy for people to own dogs.

This situation isn’t going to change unless there are strict controls on who can own a dog and how they look after them.

As it stands, there are no rules or regulations on owning a dog, which is shameful.

As harrowing reports of dog attacks increase, changing this situation is needed more now than ever.

The plain and simple truth is that dogs can be dangerous and their owners have to be held to account.

No one has ever been mauled by a cat, hamster or gerbil.

Dogs, loveable as most of them are, are a completely different question.

All dogs should be chipped with the owner’s contact details.

The chip should cost, say, £300 and would include the cost of third party insurance, to cover any incident involving the animal.

Anyone found in the care of an unchipped dog should be fined £1,000.

People have to realise the responsibility they have for the behaviour of their pets is as great as their responsibility for the welfare of the animals.

This also involves cleaning up after them.

According to the report being discussed today, 422 dogs were taken into care by city wardens over the past year.

One refuge worker said that some dogs may have escaped from their homes – or been let loose – for a short time, but 60 per cent of those found were strays that needed new homes.

And there were 562 complaints about dog fouling in the city.

But just 11 fixed penalty tickets were issued to dog owners – so few as to be meaningless.

It works out at less than a quarter of those issued in the previous 12 months.

It is obvious that the council has to take this issue seriously, it has to get tough on dog owners and ensure they clean up after them properly.

For the good of all of us.

Apart from the sight and the smell, there is a major health issue posed by dog muck which raises it above and beyond mere nuisance.

Making it tougher to own the animals in the first place would be a major step forward.

I like dogs, it’s just some of the owners who make me sick.

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