Thursday, 10 April 2014

Bring back the dog licence

Is it time to ban dogs?

Think about it. Regular deaths and serious injuries inflicted by an otherwise innocent family pet; a hundredweight of dog dirt which - at best - leaves a retch-inducing smell on the carpet and at worst can lead to toxoplasmosis and consequent blindness. And perhaps most worrying of all, the enormous environmental impact of these meat-eating, massively-farting hounds of hell. Did you know, for instance, that the carbon footprint (or should that be, paw print) of man's so-called best friend is double that of a SUV?

Look, I'm no dog-hater. No, really! But then I don't hate private jets (or their owners) either (although I wouldn't want them flown from every street corner). I don't hate cats (with only a slightly smaller carbon paw print) or goldfish. But I don't want them running riot (euphemism) over the grass where my children play. Still less do I want them jumping up at said children (oh, he's only being friendly!) on the way to school. 

Both my youngest children are terrified of dogs and I can hardly blame them. After having huge unleashed hounds (ok, one was a Westie but to a two-year-old that's pretty frightening) bound up to them as they go about their business kicking a ball or riding a scooter (it's alright, the owners always say; he doesn't bite) is hardly likely to endear them to the smelly, slobbering, woofing neo-wolves.

To be serious for a moment, many (perhaps most) dog-owners are responsible, law-abiding people. I even occasionally see them picking up their pet's deposits and then putting the bagged contents in the bins provided (rather than, say, hanging them from the nearest lamppost or stuffing them in a hedge). Yes!

So I'm sure they'll be only too willing to contribute financially to help offset the environmental damage caused by their canine indulgences. After all, we tax carbon emissions; we pay a green levy on our heating bills; we make polluters pay towards the cost of clearing their pollution.

A new dog licence might also ensure that only those with a responsible attitude will consider owning such a pet. Maybe 'trophy' dogs and those unfeasibly large animals that could easily accommodate a saddle will become less popular if taxed according to their size or appetite (or 'emissions').

I concede that, in a nation of (so-called) dog lovers such a policy is unlikely to be a vote winner. But then, since when has politics been a popularity contest? (Actually, scrub that last sentence. Politics these days is one big popularity contest and nothing gets included in a party's manifesto that hasn't first been before a focus-group and tested out for votability).

But I digress. Dogs are lovely, waggy woofy things but they also make a terrible (and harmful) mess and can be the cause of serious injury and even death. Substitute the word 'dog' for another 'd' word in that sentence and there's no way we'd not be having a serious discussion about introducing some kind of protective legislation.

I don't want dog muck on my shoes, I don't want my children knocked down by other people's 'playful' pets and I don't want to run the risk of any child or adult being harmed by what is, in effect, another person's hobby.

No-one else seems bothered. I'm in a minority (probably) of one.

But this is only the beginning.

Who will join me?

Come on everyone. Let's do the dog...


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