An interesting story hit the papers yesterday of a 6 year old girl that was bitten on the face by her neighbour’s cocker spaniel cross poodle (often known as a cockapoo).
While the details of this particular story are certainly interesting (the child wandered unaccompanied on to her neighbour’s property where the bite occurred), of equal interest is the public and police response.
It has become usual practice for a statement to appear in the press from the police after such incidents mentioning ‘ascertaining the breed of dog involved’. For example, this dog bite that occurred in Liverpool mentions the breed of dog several times:
However, in the case of the cocker/poodle mix, there seemed to be no urgency from the police and no mention of banned breeds. The criteria for being a banned ‘pit-bull type’ is based on a set of phenotypic measurements and has no genetic basis. This leads many of us to question, does one bite incident deserve greater police investigation, simply because of the potential measurements of the dog involved?
The readers comments following the bite by this ‘fluffy’ dog seems to be very much in support of the dog. Most agreed that the child should not have been on the property and that the dog must not be blamed. I wonder if the comments would have been the same if this was a banned breed-type?
Breed specific legislation is outdated and not fit for purpose and this story shows that any dog breed or cross breed can cause injury in the wrong circumstances.