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London by day
by Lynda Archard
©: February 2003


Love my animals Ė hate ignorance!

After taking my dog for a walk a woman screamed from the train station overlooking where I was ĎIs she taking her dog to crap on the grass?í She was talking to her friend and obviously shouted so that I could hear and without asking me what I was doing there. She didnít see the plastic bag in my pocket that I was waiting to use to pick up any solid bits my dog was going to leave behind. Not all dog owners are stupid or as ignorant as animal haters!

The other thing that bugs me about ignorance of animals is the fact that when my dog is not on her lead and barks at a stranger why do they panic and run? My dog loves to play and then wants to run too. I say sorry to the poor person who she has scared but I canít help wondering why they were never taught not to startle animals in the first place with screaming and panic. My mother taught me as a young child that if you panic and flap your arms about then any dog will naturally assume you are going to attack them and will probably bite you or they decide you are playing with them and want to run and shout with you. My dog doesnít know you are friendly and you donít know if she will bite you. If I thought she would bite then I would never let her off the lead in an open space. Only yesterday a family came out from their house 4 doors from mine and ran passed my gate. My dog ran over barking at them and I heard her yelp after my neighbour kicked her and then started limping. I explained that she wouldnít hurt anyone and I received a torrent of abuse from his daughter-in-law about keeping my dog on her lead, which she had been until I got next to my house. I did not have a chance to say sorry and I later wondered why I should after he kicked her for protecting our home. I did not complain after his children constantly set our car alarm off by kicking footballs at it - in their full view. In fact they laughed and looked the other way. I am keeping my dog on a lead now to prevent her from scaring them again and I will complain if their children pull any more bits of fence off or damage our car again. I canít even be sure that it was not him that killed one of my cats in November 2002. She was either kicked to death or dragged down the road by a car. Either way everyone knows my cats and the culprit could have knocked on our door if it was accidental.

My dog lives with 5 cats and is the lowest in that particular food chain. She sometimes whimpers and I go and see whatís wrong only to find one cat at the bottom of the stairs and another at the top that have trapped her half way up the stairs. They also sit around the dog flap to stop her going into the garden. If she does get out they will appear from nowhere to form a circle and stop her getting back in. So why do people give her a wide berth in the street thinking she is vicious? Okay so she has a black and tan coat and is a stocky little dog, a 7-year-old Manchester terrier to be precise, not a puppy rotweiller.

There have been some vicious attacks by animals on people and young children in recent years and the dogs are nearly always killed for doing what comes naturally. Why not blame the owners for their neglect to control the animals? And the parents for not teaching their children to stand still if a dog approaches them. If people want to keep a big dog with powerful jaws thinking it will make up for inadequacies then they are responsible for keeping it under control. They know if it attacks a panicking screaming child they wonít be able to stop the dog protecting itself. They know that a dog will carry on attacking while everyone else is flapping to try and stop the animal in a panic. It is scared and will try to protect itself.

I also have a problem with people who think a pet is a toy to put-down or give away when they get bored with it. All of my pets, rats, hamsters and gerbils included, have been neglected or unwanted because some people are irresponsible or plain cruel to them. They say stupid things such as Ďmy cat should have a litter of kittens before I get it neutered Ė itís natural for them.Ē Oh yes? Well Iím the mug that gives them the love and care that the ignorant doesnít and ends up paying the vet bill for them. I have even taken a cat to be neutered that lives locally. I told the vet that he wasnít my cat and the Catís Protection League paid for it. It was lucky that I did because he also had a severe case of worms and was suffering as a result of neglect! Now he is healthy but glares at me and never comes near my house or me. I still donít know where he lives or I would report the owner for neglect.

I wonít even get onto the subject of what I think about urban fox-haters. Instead I will just tell you that foxes do not kill and eat cats, wonít attack you without reason and drivers who run them over should be hung drawn and quartered. They are shy and only kill when they are hungry. They actually prefer to eat scraps of food found in bins or thrown into the street by litterbugs Cats and other healthy domestic animals are quick to protect themselves and will attack back. Chickens in an unprotected run are another matter. I would go for the easiest if I were a starving animal too. Fortunately urban animals in London are fed with tinned pet food by local people and are not hungry enough to kill pets but they are being culled in London.

In fact any animal cruelty should be reported and the person imprisoned. That includes people who slyly kick dogs when their owners arenít watching and then cry when bitten. Animalís will kill and attack to protect themselves and their families or, if in the wild, to eat. Domestic animals get fed and donít kill to eat Ė unless trained that way by an ignorant owner.

Please remember how to keep calm around animals and teach your children to do the same. I do understand that no one really knows how to react until they are in the situation but this awareness could help to save lives and lots of injuries, many caused by the ignorance of not knowing or understanding animal instincts and human behaviour.

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