Following on from yesterday’s posting, I have been pondering on a way-forward. I do think that the Gun Control analogy is a right one. Dog lovers do put forward the equivalent of the National Rifle Association argument that there are no ‘bad guns’ just ‘bad people’. However much I can subscribe to the notion that it’s the owners that need training, this notion in itself is not enough. And the argument that: “it’s amazing how few incidents there are” doesn’t justify the turning of the ‘proverbial blind eye’ to the situation. It seems to me that in the UK we have the worst of all worlds – a dog-owning environment, without any controls beyond legislation that bans the ownership of the extreme breeds. 31st December 1987 is the date when it seems to have started to head in the wrong direction when The Conservative Government under Margaret Thatcher scrapped the dog licence on the basis that it cost far more to collect and enforce than it raised revenue. At that time the RSPCA published its infamous ‘dead dog mountain’ poster. They were quite right except it not the RSPCA that ultimately is the ‘us’, it is us that is the ‘us’. The voluntary Pet Log microchip register 1993 set up between the RSPCA and Kennel Club was a step in the right direction but it clearly has not been enough. It’s time for ‘us’ dog owners to do the right thing for our dogs and take the initiative. For a start we need to have legislation that makes registration and micro-chipping compulsory. Yes it’s a form of tax on dog-ownership but it’s also a proof of taking responsibility. The argument will be put forward that this would mean that poor people can’t own dogs but there are lots of things in the world that you can’t do without paying the entry price. For those that can’t afford it, there can be work-arounds and subsidies. Ultimately if we care about our dogs enough we will find a way. This could be accompanied by a voluntary national Dog Owners Proficiency progamme. This all slips off the tongue easily and needs effort, organisation and funding. The bottom line is that if dog lovers don’t take the initiative others will and, in all likelihood their attentions will be ill-informed and misguided and we’ll be looking at leash-laws, muzzling or worse. Let’s not sleep-walk into this scenario. If we truly love our dogs we must act sooner rather than later.