Herald Opinion: Most dogs are the product of their training

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A MAN much wiser than most of us, once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

An angry dog owner from Eastbourne was in court this week after carrying out a “frenzied” attack on her pet.

The assault included punching the animal and stamping on its head. By way of mitigation the owner said the dog had bitten her and another dog.

But the court heard the dog was “cowering” in fear from the owner when she took it to a local vet to be put down.

Fortunately it seems the poor animal hasn’t suffered any long-term injuries and is now being cared for by the RSPCA, while its owner is banned from owning another dog.

The dog which was attacked by its owner was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a much-maligned breed which in recent years has become one of the most popular in the country but also the subject of much criticism because of its aggressive tendencies.

Even the most ardent supporters of the breed would have to agree that Staffies can sometimes be aggressive towards other dogs and their owners should keep a close eye and short leash on them in public places.

But the breed does not have a natural predisposition of aggression towards people, and especially not towards children. Like any other breed of dog it has the potential to snap or do something much worse.

The potential for trouble is obviously greatly increased if the animal is abused, neglected or just not properly trained by its owner. In short, it’s worth remembering that most dogs are the product of their training, and care, or too often the lack of both.

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IT IS interesting to read the comments of the GMB Union in response to plans to slash maternity services at the hospital (see story in the NEWS section of this website).

Perhaps it’s not surprising the Union, which represents a large number DGH staff, is hostile to plans which could mean job losses amongst its already “demoralised” members.

But it’s worth noting their views are similar to that of most people in the town, and, the Herald understands ,a large number of senior clinicians at the hospital.

So, the town could be facing massive cuts which are hugely unpopular with Eastbourne residents, the doctors, nurses and surgeons at the hospital, with only the NHS managers in favour. As the world’s economic woes continue the Trust which runs the beleaguered hospital is under pressure to make savings, but surely there must be another way?