Thursday, April 13, 2006

In Scotland, Dog Pulling as Cruel as Dog Fighting and Baiting

Didn’t know too much about Dog Pulling until I read this article. But, should have guessed someone would do such a cruel act.


Dog pulling should go the way of fighting and baiting


IT is quite surprising that the dog remains mans' best friend in light of the abuse some receive at the hands of their thoughtless owners.

While not as grotesque or cruel as dog-fighting or badger baiting, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is quite right to condemn the latest animal freak show to hit our shores - dog pulling - the first ever Scottish event being staged in the Lothians at the weekend. It may have taken place in a sports centre, but sport it most certainly isn't.

Competing in weight categories dogs were expected to pull heavily laden sledges across the ground. One unfortunate animal was tasked with trying to pull a sled loaded up with 2100lb - roughly the weight of 15 fully grown men.

Naturally the competition attracts owners of heavyweight breeds dogs such as bulldogs and bull terriers. Organised by the American-based United Pulling Federation the event could only go ahead because it was staged indoors, as it is illegal to make dogs pull loads on a public highway under the 1912 Protection of Animals Act. The Act was introduced to stop what was regarded at the time as the cruel practice of making dogs pull carts, generally on delivery rounds. Had it been envisaged at the time that such practice would be developed into a "sport" it is virtually certain that the Act would have been extended to cover all premises and not just highways.

The SSPCA is now seeking to have this loophole closed, calling for stricter guidelines to prevent further competitions being staged at any venue and is calling for venues themselves to refuse to take bookings. They say it is not only cruel but fear dogs that have not been properly trained in pulling excessive loads could easily be injured.

From the evidence they have seen they say that some dogs are clearly unaccustomed to such tasks and simply incapable of dealing with the loads their owners were trying to encourage them to pull.

It is sad to see that some dog owners seem unable to derive pleasure alone from owning and caring for a dog in return for love and affection and only seem to be able to gain some degree of perverse satisfaction from pushing an animal to beyond its limits of strength and endurance.

Such abuse should be outlawed and dog pulling should go the way of fighting and baiting and be classed as illegal, as the law no doubt intended.

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