Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bicycle thieves and flat-roofed pubs

GIVEN THE past week’s news coverage, you might imagine that attacks on children by dangerous dogs are like buses and only come along in threes.

First we had the tragic death of five-month-old Cadey-Lee Deacon, killed by two flat-roofed pub rottweilers. (I call them “flat-roofed pub rottweilers” because that is a different breed to the common or garden “pub” rottweiler, as well as being a world away from the “normal” rottweiler you might see at a dog show or in the park.)

Then it emerged that four-year-old George Brown had had to undergo four hours of reconstructive surgery and have 200 stitches in his face after being attacked by a bulldog near his home in Huntingdon. I know not if this was a “council” bulldog or the more placid “cul de sac” breed. Suffice to say, it had serious previous and its owner now faces a spell in prison.

We then learn that two-year-old Harvey Lawrence is still in hospital in West Sussex after being attacked by another rottweiler (provenance unknown) earlier this week. Coincidence or conspiracy? Neither, really. The fact of the matter is that these things happen all the time. It’s only when a particularly newsworthy attack takes place that the Dangerous Dogs Debate re-enters the national agenda with every incident being accorded media attention.

In fact around 3,000 people a year are attacked by dogs, with many of the victims children. That’s over eight a day, yet no newspaper to my knowledge yet runs a regular column entitled “Today’s Dog Attacks”. So why is it happening and why are we putting up with it?

We must turn first to the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991, which prohibited the breeding, sale or exchange of four identified breeds: pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosas, the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Brasileiro – not the sort of animals you see advertised on the noticeboards at Tesco. The Act also sought to ban any other dog that appears to be “bred for fighting”, but was not specific about types of dog, so making enforcement prior to an attack almost impossible.

So what of the snarling beasts on chain-link leashes so beloved of feral hooded youths? (Dicks-on-a-string, one vet called them this week.) Ah, they’re Staffordshire bull terriers and, as such, are exempt. I do remember at the time of the debate suggesting that if the government couldn’t identify potentially dangerous dogs by breed, then it could perhaps do it by name. Thus, anything called Tyson, Rambo or Rooney would immediately be shipped off for the lethal injection. Fido and Rover would escape.

But even that isn’t the answer. Dogs are wild pack animals, not programmable toys. Any dog can turn nasty – just ask Princess Anne or Roy Hattersley, both of whom have been hauled before the beak to answer for their canine’s criminality. And you yourself may not realise that you’re harbouring a Fred Westie or an Alsatian Capone in the bosom of your own family until it’s too late.

Perhaps bringing back the dog licence is the solution. I remember when they were seven shillings and sixpence, or 37.5p in new money. (My dad would only let us have a black and white dog because he thought the colour licence was more expensive.) But this time let’s make it really worthwhile, say £500 a year. And enforce it.

I can think of little that would give me more pleasure than watching a team of armed police work their way around a sink estate, confiscating snarling dogs and towing away uninsured cars at the same time. And at least if you did get bitten, you’d know that the beast’s owner had enough money to make it worth your while suing him.

NEW LAWS banning age discrimination in the workplace come into effect next week. The government wants people to be able to work longer, particularly as we’re living longer. It will therefore be unlawful to sack someone or deny them training just because they’re old, and employers won’t be allowed to specify an age range when advertising for new employees.

Have they really thought this through? Do we really want to end up with the situation where we’ve got 60-year-old lap dancers and 17-year-old brain surgeons? I don’t think so.

WATCHING GMTV over port and kedgeree the other morning, I happened upon a report detailing the amount of debt the average Brit has run up. It appears to be a modest £3,000 per head, a fraction of what I owe to the banks and the credit card bandits.

What really caught my eye though was the appearance of a representative from a respectable pawn-broking firm, describing how a representative sample of respectable people use his firm’s services for easy short term loans. Hmm.

I happened to be discussing this in the Dog and Blunkett that night amongst a group of friends, one of whom is a cyclist. (Yes, I know.) He related how he’d been advised to pop along to his local, modern multiple pawn shop after his bicycle saddle had been stolen. (I am advised that these things aren’t exactly cheap.)

There, in the corner of the shop, was a pile of such saddles, only not the kind you buy in bike shops: these were all attached to seat posts with reflectors on them. They could only have been stolen from parked, unattended bikes. There was no other explanation.

The bike seats were priced at £4 apiece. This means that the seller would have raised roughly £1.33 from passing them on to the pawnbroker. And in a delightful economic synergy, £1.33 was just enough to buy you a can of Special Brew from the off licence next door.

Don’t you just love the free market?

WE MUST return, regrettably, to the case of Cadey-Lee Deacon. Now I know that this isn’t going to earn me many friends, but if we accept the fact that we can’t change the outcome of this terrible accident, can’t we also accept the fact that in the course of this poor child’s short life, an abrupt end isn’t exactly the worst thing that could have happened?

Bear with me. Let’s examine the evidence. Cadey-Lee had been branded from birth with a stupid name by parents so moronic that they left her where passing, flat-roofed, froth-mouthed hounds could get at her on a sink estate in Leicester.

So what will those caring parents miss? Well, they’ll never get to see their little girl terrorise the elderly neighbours with her equally feral pre-pubescent friends. They’ll never get to go round and threaten those neighbours themselves when they finally summon up the courage to complain to the council.

They’ll never get to look on admiringly as she pulls on the Top Shop thong reading “Cum And Get Me”. They’ll never get to see her first tattoo, pointing down at her arse like the advertisement for a free sample that it is. They won’t be there to dab TCP on the septic belly button piercing.

They’ll never get to physically assault the teacher who fails to show Cadey-Lee sufficient “respect” by asking her to stop calling him an “arsehole” on the very rare occasions she turns up for classes.

They’ll never get to share that tender moment when she tells them she’s up the duff by any one of a dozen 14-year-old packrats. They’ll never get to help her fill in her first, illiterately-scrawled benefit claim. They won’t be there to help her move into the council flat. And they won’t be there to celebrate the succession of multi-coloured, junkie-fathered, grandchildren that follow.

And you think that I’m being harsh? Sorry, but sometimes the truth hurts.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone who doesn't think that Extras is excrutiatingly funny, of anyone not lusting after 93-year-old Twiggy in that Marks and Spencer TV ad, or of anyone who's just taken on a Brazilian cleaning lady.


Anonymous tony b.liar said...

Right on, Bazza. But rather than a Dangerous Dogs Act that is patently unenforceable, perhaps our lumpen leader class should consider a "Dangerous Children Act" with the specified breeds and half and quarter breeds being identified as inhabiting sink estates and banned from entering towns at all reasonable hours?

3:21 AM  
Anonymous Black Dog said...

As a huge fan of dogs, I still have to agree with Bazza. It's not the breed, it's the mentality of the owner, and in my experience, a good 50% of dog owners shouldn't own a dog.

From the shaven headed neanderthals, who use the dog as a penis extension, through to middle class "progressives" who haven't even worked out that you can't raise children by reasoning with them instead of using discipline, never mind an adopted 14 stone Rottweiler called Satan.

Dogs like a clear, consistent set of rules, and they're all the happier for knowing where they stand in the family hierachy, i.e the bottom.

The flat roof rotties were plainly kept to tear an intruder's arse off, and obviously saw anyone or anything in "their" territory as a legitimate target.

The owners are to blame, although it must be said, some breeds are more aggressive than others. But even a dog as placid as a Labrador can be brought up to be nasty.

Did anyone see the story about the woman who had her life made a misery in Barnsley? A pack of feral brats apparently sat in her garden, handing out abuse and throwing things at her windows. Eventually she snapped- and slapped a couple of them.

She's supposed to feel grateful that she narrowly escaped a jail sentence for hitting these innocent little darlings.

Strikes me as being absolutely typical that the plod did bugger all to help her for 6 years of torment, and the minute she does something about it herself- a mere slap, at that, the plod are there within minutes.

Not for the first time has it occured to me that the average copper has more in common with the scum he's supposed to arrest, than the average decent types he's supposed to protect.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Nethercourt said...

Well said black dog!

And I too would welcome the return of the dog licence, in spite of the fact that I could ill afford the triple dose at 'Bazza's rates'.

I wonder if a similar levy could be applied to kids? Perhaps even accompanied by a certificate of competance for parent-hood ?

11:12 AM  
Blogger The Remittance Man said...

On the subject of bicycle crime I am reminded of a chum at university who claimed to have attended Elec Eng 101 in his fifth year. He devised a rather unique form of crime prevention apparatus.

While not pretending to understand the finer points of engineering the device was designed to be plugged into a street lamp thereby rendering the the frame 'live'. Initial results were promising with the added bonus that the number of feral dangerous dogs in the area declined markedly. There were plans to go commercial.

Alas the whole project collapsed after one particularly lengthy business planning session. At closing time Sparky Mark staggered to his conveyance but somehow failed to disconnect his security apparatus in the approved manner and ended up living up to his moniker.

3:38 AM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

''I do remember at the time of the debate suggesting that if the government couldn’t identify potentially dangerous dogs by breed, then it could perhaps do it by name.''

Have you lost the f*****g plot completely Bazza? This is tantamount to 'race profiling!'

The PC nazis will string you up by the balls!

11:29 AM  
Anonymous John Bull-Terrier said...

The "Dog and Blunkett" PMSL!

Fortunately ol' Blinkie Blunkett, who is not famous for his sense of humour, won't be able to read that gem.

1:40 AM  
Anonymous AndrewM said...

You're a hard man, Bazza.

Hard but fair.

2:44 AM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

John Bull:'Fortunately ol' Blinkie Blunkett, who is not famous for his sense of humour, won't be able to read that gem.'

Of course he will ... in the on-line Braille version. ;o)

2:11 PM  
Anonymous tc said...

Spot on Baz: Twiggy looks better now than she ever did in the 60's

3:00 PM  
Anonymous John Bull said...

Sky dog, Blinkie won't do it himself - he's got a secretary what does all his fingerwork for him :)

4:33 AM  
Anonymous divine_madness said...

I remember a line by a very young Keanu Reaves in the film Parenthood when discussing his up bringing and his abusive father he said "You have to have a license to have a dog, but anyone can have kids". These days we have neither perhaps we should introduce both!!

1:16 AM  
Blogger forester said...

VERY harsh words from Baz on the 'Cadey-Lee' story.
However, I think the small number of responses to this post (nothing from Jimmy, Sammy, Kris etc) is because we all felt guilty reading it - I had the same dreadful thoughts as Baz wrote.
And felt ashamed to have thought them.

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No-one's replied because Bazza's an effing right-wing, pissed, washed-up, human turd. This weeks column is so disgusting it's embarrassed even his most slavish devotees.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Black Dog said...

I'm not sure about that. Bazza probably doesn't like thinking that stuff, either, and would certainly prefer to live in a world where such commentary is redundant. I know I would.

But don't you think that he has a point, no matter how unpalatable? And that just as we all feel uncomfortable reading it, we're also- to greater or lesser extents- uncomfortable about what consitutes reality for a large chunk of the population? Do we only feel uncomfortable because the poor child has died? Would we feel uncomfortable had the little girl indeed grown up and almost certainly lived out the future Bazza wrote about? Because, no matter how much we dislike it, that IS reality for legions of kids, and you can tell because of the mentality of their parents. Or would we just feel derision, had the poor kid lived and done all or some of them things?

Bazza's post raised very upsetting and uncomfortable questions: just what kind of society do we live in? What are we doing about it? Is this what we want? Or, alternatively, do you think that children of the underclass, (and it's useless to deny their existence- that's what politicians are doing), REALLY have the same moral and social norms and the same aspirations and opportunities as the more wealthy and educated?

Say what you like, no matter how offensive you found Bazza's post, nevertheless, it's realistic, and therein lies the slamming indictment of British society. It MAY be offensive, it may even be in bad taste, but my personal view is that writing in bad taste is nothing like the obscenity that a British child could face a future like that in this day and age. THAT's not right wing, it should be the view of anyone with an ounce of humanity. The fact that the poor kid won't have any future at all is a separate and tragic issue.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Hal Horn said...

Brilliantly said, black dog [I take it you're not of the "flat roofed pub" breed].

I quote a great, intelligent social commentator when I say "Sorry, but sometimes the truth hurts.".

And better to be a realistic right-winger than an idealistic, soap dodging, bicycle riding, Guardian reading, feckless workshy left-winger with all the dreams in the world.

~ Hal

12:25 AM  
Anonymous AndrewM said...

I 'ates them lefties, I do.

8:03 AM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

'anonymous':'No-one's replied because Bazza's an effing right-wing, pissed, washed-up, human turd. This weeks column is so disgusting it's embarrassed even his most slavish devotees.'

Funny how they write their venom from behind the 'anonymous burkha'

I didn't find this weeks column 'disgusting' nor was I 'embarrassed' to read it either. It was f*****g spot-on. So get stuffed Mr.'Anonymous' whoever you are.

3:55 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Even though the odd's were stacked against Cadey-Lee, and if she were not mauled to death and left to grow up, then she would end up having three kids by the time she reached her eighteenth birthday, but the occasional "sink-estate" child does escape (for lack of a better word). It's rare, but it does happen.

But, Bazza's right: dog's aren't too blame here, but her moronic parents, who also gave her such a stupid name.

We have a Staffordshire bull bitch, who my youngest niece adores, but anyone with an inch of intelligence will not leave her alone with the dog.

In this day and age of stealth taxes, you would think Blair would jump at the prospect of creating a new Dog Tax... sorry, Licence.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Laban said...

"George Brown had had to undergo four hours of reconstructive surgery and have 200 stitches in his face after being attacked by a bulldog near his home in Huntingdon. I know not if this was a “council” bulldog or the more placid “cul de sac” breed."

I think this was definitely a "council". Take a look at the owner.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Laban said...

You'll get the idea

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... and the name "sky dog" is not an "anonymous burka" ?? Prat. Listen matey, if I want your opinion on anything, I'll beat it out of you.

4:36 AM  
Anonymous tony b.liar said...

Dear Mr Anonymous,

Tish tish, you ARE getting your knickers in a twist aren't you?

I have long been against those bloggers who hide behind anonymity, but at least in MY case [and that of SKY DOG] you do at least know WHO is saying WHAT, even if you don't know their actual identity. Has that simple fact escaped you?

As to the substance of your remark:

Anonymous said...
No-one's replied because Bazza's an effing right-wing, pissed, washed-up, human turd. This weeks column is so disgusting it's embarrassed even his most slavish devotees.

I am with SKY DOG and the others, I didn't find the piece 'disgusting' or 'offensive'
or 'unrealistic', and I'm sorry but I didn't feel either 'ashamed' or 'guilty' reading it. Sorry if I didn't make it clear at the time. And I very much doubt if Jimmy, Sammy, Kris etc were any more 'embarassed' than I was!!!

Do tell us Mr Anon, what info do you have on Bazza's identity? You seem to knbow an awful lot about him. Share it with us!

2:32 AM  
Anonymous Ade said...

"Cadey-Lee" - maybe the moronic parents actually meant "Katie Leigh", but a surefit of booze & deficit of intelligence (or education, maybe) lead to the mistake.

On the other hand, probably not.

6:28 AM  

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