A Plague of Dogs

21 May

no dogsWhen I rule the world, private dog ownership will be banned. This is not some kind of communist measure applying to all private property, it’s just dogs. (And cars, but that’s a different story.) Obviously, exceptions will be made for guide dogs, dogs for the deaf etc. People on farms can have dogs to do useful things. Keeping dogs as pets, however, will be right out.

In case I ever do rule the world, and bring in this regulation, let me explain the reasoning behind this prohibition.

1) Dogs defecate. All over the pavement in fact. This is something that is brought to my attention when I walk the obstacle course of dog dirt that is the route from Shawlands to Pollokshields, in Glasgow. The sheer quantity makes the mind boggle and the shoe sole quail. I once counted it. (Yes I know, that’s weird, but I was thinking that if I’m going to rant about it on the internet I should have some semi-statistical evidence.) I passed twenty-seven separate ‘incidences’ of dog poo.

It’s not just the disgusting smell (cleaning dog dirt off my shoes makes me heave because of the smell), it’s also the danger. Some dogs carry toxocara which, when it infects humans, can leave them partially blind. Lovely. Dozens of people, mainly children, come down with toxocariasis each year, because dogs have uncivilised toilet habits, and their owners have an antisocial attitude to clearing up after the dog.

And don’t get me started on people who think that if their dog defecates on grass the poo will magically disappear so they don’t have to deal with it. I don’t have a garden. We have communal “gardens” (read: car park) with a little strip of grass around the edge. In sunny weather I would like to succumb to the almost overwhelming Scottish impulse to throw myself down on the nearest piece of grass, but sadly it would mean settling myself upon a bed of dried dog-doo.

2) Dogs smell. Especially when wet, but even when they’re not. Houses that have dogs in them smell of dog. Cars that have dogs in them smell of dog. Buses with dogs on them… well, you get the idea. Perhaps there are people who relish the smell of dog. I am not one of them.

3) Dogs bite. Yes, they do. Not all of them, not even most of them, but plenty. There were six and a half thousand hospital admissions between April 2011 and 2012 caused by dog bites or other forms of attack. Attacks are also becoming more common. The RSPCA recommends that:

Children should not be left alone with dogs and warned not to approach them when the dog was eating, had a toy or possession, was sleeping, sick, injured, in pain, tired or had hearing or vision impairment. (RSPCA guidelines)

My solution is much simpler – no dogs.

4) I am scared of dogs. Related to 3, naturally. Some people call this a phobia, but I don’t think a fear of an animal that may maul you is irrational. My tiny niece has no fear of dogs, and I don’t want to instill one in her unless its necessary, but it does mean that every time we see a lovely wee doggy that she wants to stroke, my brain is whirring with thoughts like “Is this one a face biter?”, “Could I protect her from both of them at once?” and “Where is the nearest hospital?”

5) Dogs are an insult to wolves. I’m actually quite fond of wolves. (I probably wouldn’t be if people kept them in their tiny flats, let them poo all over the outdoor space, and left them free to attack people, but fortunately they don’t.) Some dogs show their relationship to wolves, and you can sort of see the point of them. Alsatians, Border Collies and other working dogs at least bear a passing resemblance. Chihuahuas don’t, and neither do Pugs or Shih Tzus or any other form of snub-nosed, silly-haired, shrunken bodied curs. I can only assume that when wolves see the ridiculous specimens their descendents have become, they turn bright red under their fur. Or try to eat them.

I appreciate that many people are fond of dogs, and will not share my views on keeping dogs as pets. Don’t worry, when in power I will be a magnanimous and reasonable leader, and I am in favour of the free movement of persons. When I rule the world, you will be allowed to emigrate to whatever planet you wish, and take your dogs with you.

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