Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Wanted - Robocop (must be good with animals)

Good news for postmen! Plans are afoot to ensure dog owners have their pets microchipped and take out third party insurance.

New legal powers - inevitably dubbed 'dogbos' - could require a dog to be fenced in, neutered, muzzled or kept on a lead, and for an owner to attend a dog handling course - an encouraging though if you're among the 92 postmen attacked each week.

(Ma Peachum, my infallible source of homespun wisdom, suggests an olefactory solution for that particular problem - in her village, the visiting butcher has never been attacked by a dog on his weekly rounds; in fact he is regularly greeted with much doggy enthusiasm. Give every postie a pork pie in his bag and you might see a change.)

With 5,221 people needing hospital treatment after dog attacks last year, there is obviously a serious problem; Alan Johnson - himself the victim of two dog attacks in his postman days - seems confident it can be tackled with legislation.

So all dog owners will henceforth obediently queue up to pay for a licence, training courses and £300 p.a. insurance; all in, it's not far off the cost of running a car. And of course no one would drive a car without a full current licence and paid-up tax and insurance, would they?

And while you can check a car numberplate at a distance, to read a microchip (or detect its absence) means getting up rather too close and personal for comfort. If the stories in today's papers are anything to go by, if the dog doesn't get you, the owner will.

So it's nice and easy to inspect a lady's lapdog or check the details of a family labrador. But the ones you ought to be checking will, naturally, be those presenting an apparent threat. So the big question is not what the new powers will be, but who will actually be enforcing them and how.

1 comment:

  1. We all know what will happen, of course. The first dog rounded up will be some elderly lady's beloved pet, while just down the street, Stabby McChav walks his pitbull with impunity. Too much trouble to bother with, you see...

    At least the mauling this legislation is getting from all sides will leave them in no doubt that the vast majority of the population are just looking forward to the day when they can take this ailing, sick government to the polls for the final time.