....WOULD STILL smell as bad, writes NICK MAYS. The new laws enacted in such
indecent haste in Germany bring back painfully raw memories of the flawed
Dangerous Dogs Act here in the UK. But - and I never thought I'd hear myself
say this - our DDA is but a pale shadow of what the German States Parliaments
have enacted. Look at their meticulous attention to height of dogs,
definition of what constitutes 'dangerous' (i.e. anything except a German
Shepherd or a Dachshund), and, of course, that old mainstay of any anti-dig
law; the mandatory destruction order.
The sickening thing is, the German dog laws - and their planned EU-wide ban
on all Bull Breeds - is based, like the dog laws of so many other countries,
on the UK's DDA. EVEN THOUGH it has been shown not to work.
But then again, maybe it's all a question of application. Maybe our British
politicians weren't genocidal enough. Maybe they lacked the 'eye of the
tiger' or the 'nose of the concentration camp commandant' or whatever. Maybe
that's where our DDA turned out to be such a failure!
Cast your minds back to Spring 1991. The media had been whipping up a frenzy
about 'dangerous dogs' for over a year (except when Iraq invaded Kuwait in
August 1990, then they had Saddam Hussein to hate), the RSPCA were plugging
away for compulsory dog registration and some of the lesser politicians
wanted to see harsh dog laws enacted.... just like in Germany, Summer 2000.
Then six year-old Rukshana Khan was savagely attacked by two 'Pit Bulls',
followed an identical attack two days later on bakery worker Frank Tempest.
It was genuinely shocking; the media were outrages, the people were
outraged... and the politicians acted. Just like in Germany, 2000.
Home Secretary Kenneth Baker stood up in the House of Commons and pronounced
at "All Pit Bull Terriers would be destroyed". He was afterwards howled down
by vets, animal welfare agencies and dog owners alike. Baker backtracked and
came up with the totally unfair DDA, which was denounced by veteran peer Lord
Houghton as a "knee jerk reaction of the very worst kind." SIMILAR to
Germany, Summer 2000.
Okay, so what happened next with the DDA wasn't perfect; millions of words
have been spoken and written about the untold misery it caused and still does
cause, even after being amended into a more benign form in 1997. But the fact
remains, Kenneth Baker backtracked... the Government was forced to listen...
we had free debate (almost)... that's out strangely British way of compromise.
But in Germany, the Government and States Parliaments denounce any voices of
dissent as irrelevant, the ravings of lunatics. They sit back and watch
non-dog owners persecute dog owners, kill their dogs by setting them on fire.
In masterful understatement they simply say; WE do not think there is a
hysterical climate. What we do notice is an increased vigilance on behalf of
the German public regarding these dogs."
What can you say? Is "increased vigilance" the same mentality which led to
the persecution of innocents in Germany sixty or more years ago? Do some
people ever learn anything from history? Even recent history such as 1991...
or history further back, circa 1940.
The DDA may not be perfect, but we haven't reached the level of mob rule
against dogs and their owners... yet.
"First they came for the Jews. I was silent. I was not a Jew. Then
they came for the Communists. I was silent. I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists. I was silent. I was not a
trade unionist. Then they came for me. There was no one left to
speak for me."
AUTHOR: Martin Niemöller, on resistance to Nazis, recalled on his
death 6 Mar 1984
Copyright (c) Nick Mays/OUR DOGS, July 2000