Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bringing Back Dog Licences Could Have Spared My Pet a Mauling

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bringing Back Dog Licences Could Have Spared My Pet a Mauling

Article excerpt

Byline: Ivan Massow

IT'S all in those big brown eyes. When Taxi fixes you with his most heartfelt, plaintive expression, no one on earth can resist him. Or so I thought.

Taxi is my seven-year-old Jack Russell. Since I live in London, I thought it would be fun to name him after one of the capital's most famous icons. Maybe it wasn't my best idea -- calling out for him around town has provoked more grunts from cab drivers than the Boris bikes combined.

A few weeks ago Taxi and I were out on our regular early evening stroll in Shoreditch Park when a Staffordshire bull terrier ran towards us. In a split second we sensed danger but I wasn't close enough to grab my dog in time.

Taxi's eyes widened as the bull terrier leapt on him, sinking its teeth into his neck and causing him to let out a pained, terrified squeal. I immediately seized the attacker and tried to pull it off my poor dog.

"Oi, you," came a drunken shout from 10 feet away. "F***ing leave my dog alone." The bull terrier now had its snarling jaws clamped around my fingers.

I managed to whip my hand away, scoop up Taxi and sidestep the salivating mutt.

"And keep your poof dog away from mine," the drunk raged on. His eyes were red, his body swaying like he was on the deck of a boat.

I recognised him instantly from the local council estate. He's often seen lurching around the park with his Staffy. It's not the first time they've intimidated Taxi or me and I've heard similar tales from other dog-walkers.

One Jack Russell was so badly attacked it nearly died, causing its owner -- a widow in her eighties -- immeasurable stress and expense.

Taxi spent the night in a state of shock and mild paralysis, but thankfully the wound could be treated with a course of antibiotics. But the experience has left the little chap traumatised.

Dangerous dogs in Britain are not a new phenomenon. The Dogs Act of 1871 states that if a magistrates' court receives a complaint that a dog is a risk to others, it can order the owner to keep it under control -- or even have the dog destroyed.

Since then, we've had the Dangerous Dogs Act, 1991, introduced in response to a number of high-profile cases in which young children were savaged by aggressive dogs. …

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