It is obviously our primary aim to see the punishment better fit the crime when it comes to extreme abusers. This shall and must remain our primary aim but I don’t think it need be our only aim.
Let me put it this way – even when this is taken far more seriously and even when sentences are a great deal longer you will not be able to just arrest your way out of this problem. Punishment is certainly part of the answer but it is not the whole answer.
I think that an equally key part of the answer is to do that which would raise the quality of dog owner.
Not just anyone can jump behind the wheel of a car and drive. That’s why people take lessons and sit tests. If they didn’t then the number of road fatalities would sky rocket. Why then is it assumed that just anyone can go out and get themselves any number of dogs, regardless of the fact that they’d clearly and obviously be ill equipped to own even a goldfish?
There are 8 million or more dogs in this country. That’s about twice the human population of Scotland. Its far too many especially when its clear to all that this figure is not matched by the number of good owners.
It cannot possibly be beyond the scope of the best minds in the country to come together and figure out a workable format that would make dog ownership come with criteria.
Example. I see no reason why someone that has a record for anti social or violent crime cannot be disqualified from owning a dog from the get go. A person can apply for a shot gun licence in this country. I can assure you it would not be granted if the applicant had a history of violent crime or anti social actions.
I think it would be a good preventive measure from disqualify entire groups of people from dog ownership and those with a history for violent crime and anti social actions should be top of the list.
I don’t even see why this would be too hard. You’d still get them defying it of course but then it would become a criminal offence.
I would not wish to disqualify anyone on economic grounds since there are lots of poor dog owners who are good people.
I do wish to disqualify those who are clearly and obviously an accident waiting to happen and regardless of their economic situation.
I also believe that anyone with a conviction for violence or abuse of children should be disqualified.
Its not BSL that we need. Its more like PSL – People Specific Legislation.
There is absolutely no reason why legislation such as the above cannot be accepted into law before or after any extension to prison terms. It would be relevant at any time.
I think that during this past year we have created enough of a profile and enough media awareness to go forward and look at this in more than a one dimensional way. While it is vital to fight on to secure those longer prison terms I feel it is key to also lay foundations in place that would (on some level) raise the quality of dog owner out there. If you can prevent at least a good % of dogs falling into the hands of the wrong people then you likely prevent all manner of tragedy (be that an abused dog, a person mauled or a breed given a bad reputation).
In some ways it could be argued that this would be even more effective than merely arresting our way out of this. It would absolutely galvanise any future extension to prison terms.
My question is not so much “Would you give direct support to the abolition of BSL?”.
It is more this – would you give direct support to a high profile event that called for People Specific Legislation?
Its not a gimmick and I am deadly serious that implementing some fair and sound criteria would save a whole lot of misery later down the line.
On a personal level I can see the potential in it.
We could do this entirely separate to any aim to secure longer prison terms.
This sort of sub campaign would take me about four weeks to put together if I wanted to. Perhaps six. I could most certainly get the PSL meme known in the public domain and in the press. I could certainly use it to lead in with those suggestions I covered before.
There’s a lot you could do with it visually as well.
We already have the OF name in the press so they are interested in what we do.
It can all be done. It would probably create a very long over due public debate. Its also the sort of legislation that Government might readily entertain.
There are various means by which I could deploy to stir up a public and political narrative on this subject. I’d pick the best one and run with that.
I’m open minded though. Let me know if this is the sort of thing you’d welcome and support. There’s no good Jane and I just assuming people share the logic and would see the benefit. Best to ask outright. We invite the thoughts of all but obviously will pay special mind to our regular funders.
(Pictured. Convicted sick, Jack Whiting. Stomach turning that anyone would date him after what he did. And we wonder how ‘parents’ like those of Baby Peter come to pass. Whiting only has a short time left on his pathetic pet ban. PSL would disqualify him forever and penalise him far more harshly for violating the law)