One tragic dog attack too many

A few weeks ago, I visited the city kennels at Pennyburn as part of an article I was working on about responsible or more commonly, irresponsible dog ownership. I spoke to the council’s principal dog warden and their principal environmental health officer about the apparent lack of maturity in certain adults who have dogs.

We’re all familiar with the types. The people who walk along the quay letting their pets off the leash to wander freely.

“Och sure he wouldn’t touch ye,” they’ll claim, clearly privy to the the language of dogs, and having just had a full conversation with their pet who has assured them they’re not in biting form that day.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been walking along the shore path in Moville and encountered a ‘stray dog’ whose owner is wandering carefree about half a mile in front of me. When this happens, I’m always surprised by the level of indifference displayed by the dog owner in question.

Even the most intelligent of human beings seem to suspend that belief that dogs are animals with basic instincts and capable of spontaneous reactions which can have devastating consequences. This week a particularly devastating set of consequences came in the quiet street in Blackburn, England where a beautiful baby girl was mauled to death.

Ava Jayne Marie Corless was in an upstairs bedroom of a house near her home when she was savagely attacked by an American pit bull style dog. She died shortly after being transferred to hospital. The baby’s mother Chloe King, 20, and her boyfriend, 26, were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. They were downstairs when she was attacked.

This is a particulary horrific incident. It’s heartbreaking and devastating and most crucially - entirely avoidable.

No child should ever be in the position where it is mauled to death by a dog, but more importantly, no dog should ever be afforded the freedom to attack a human being. I’m amazed that it doesn’t happen more.

There are a lot of people out there who could be termed responsible dog owners, but there are a hell of a lot who deserve to have their pets taken off them.

A few weeks ago, I had a dog follow me, and proceed to jump up on my son’s buggy for the first 15 minutes of our walk.

Thankfully, it didn’t seem particularly aggressive, but it was an unwelcome distraction in what I’d intended would be a relaxing walk.

The owner, who was nothing but a distant figure up ahead in the distance, called the dog as we got closer without even acknowledging that they’d totally ignored it for most of the walk.

People like this are the cause of completely avoidable dog attacks.