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Old 02-09-2012, 03:15 PM
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It Could Have Been a Child, Say Pet Show Volunteers

It could have been a child, say pet show volunteers

What went wrong at Dubai Pet Show where killer dog struck? Volunteers manning entry points speak up
By Sharmila Dhal, Senior Reporter, XPRESS
Published: 00:00 February 9, 2012

Image Credit: © XPRESS / Atiq-Ur Rehman
Handlers at the Dubai Pet Show were repeatedly told to keep their pets muzzled and under leash at all times but not everyone cooperated.

Dubai: Volunteers manning entry points at the Dubai Pet Show last Friday said they felt overpowered and helpless in stopping owners of large dogs who refused to muzzle their pets and forced their way in — despite repeated requests.

Hours after a poodle was killed in a deadly attack by an unmuzzled American Staffordshire terrier at the show, Lola Lopez, Founder of the NGO Volunteer in UAE, which manned the points, told XPRESS, "The organisers have to come up with a solution to this problem before it's a child that is killed."

The incident at the hugely popular Whiskas & Pedigree Dubai Pet Show, the largest of its kind in the UAE, has come as an eye-opener as the presence of a large number of unmuzzled beasts not only posed a threat to other dogs in a "high testosterone" environment (see side-bar), but also to the 30,000-plus unsuspecting visitors, many of them children.

Event sponsors Pedigree & Whiskas said, "All vets and security at the event were briefed to check dogs for up-to-date vaccination status, a leash and a muzzle for large dogs. The dog, which was involved in the [poodle] incident, was demonstrated to satisfy all of these regulations when it entered the event."

They said, "Although it's a requirement for certain breeds entering the event to wear a muzzle, it's ultimately the responsibility of the owner not to remove the headgear. There was a security team employed to spot-check the public to reinforce that handlers should not remove their dogs' leashes and muzzles, together with security patrols carried out over the course of the day."

So what went wrong?

The protocol at the main gates was well defined. All dog owners coming in had to get their dogs checked by the vets who were their first point of contact, after which they headed to the registration tables and through the archways inside.

Lopez said her volunteers were working in two shifts of around 30 people at the registration tables and the archways, besides helping out at charity stalls.

She said, "Our volunteers weren't told during morning briefing that certain dogs had to be muzzled, so hundreds of breeds known for being randomly and unexpectedly dangerous had been allowed in. Having said that, once the organisers gave me the list of dogs — I asked for it after the poodle incident — and I passed the information on to our volunteers at the main gate, people still refused to put on a muzzle and forced their way inside."

Pleas fell on deaf ears

"Of course, our volunteers couldn't argue with them. Think of the dynamics — no one is going to be too tough on a guy with a 100kg bull terrier inches away from his owner. The only form of authority that there is a chance these people might respect is the police," she said.

Faisal, a volunteer, spoke of the hard time he had trying to stop three men from entering the show with their pitbulls. "They just pushed past me."

"I then called security, who tried to stop the men but they ignored them and continued into the grounds," said Lopez. "Another man with what could have only been a Rottweiller/Doberman cross weighing around 90kg, when asked to muzzle the dog, screamed at me that he is "only eight months old", to which my reply was ‘yet he could still fit a child's head in his mouth'," she added.

As such large, unmuzzled dogs forced their way in, a fun family day out turned into a nightmare for some. Morteza Kariman, owner of Pluto, the poodle that died, said he was with his wife and two children when Pluto "was attacked and murdered" in a matter of minutes.

"The American Staffordshire terrier was attending the show without a mask, which is illegal," he said, adding, "More than the loss of our pet, we are concerned over the alarming risk that was posed by the dog, as thousands of young children were walking around the ground petting and caressing the dogs at the show."

Laura Marr, of the Dubai Pug Club, said, "Despite having a couple of hours of fun at the show with our pugs, we always felt we had to be on our guard from the unsocial trophy dogs that were being paraded by their careless owners. I am surprised that this unfortunate incident hasn't happened before, especially when aggressive dogs are continually allowed to enter the event — even breeds that are supposedly banned in the UAE."

A Mirdif resident who was there with her fiancé and dog said an unmuzzled boxer nearly got her. "His owner said he was friendly but when I bent down to stroke him, he warned me not to get too close as he could bite. By then, it was too late and the dog got me by the back pocket of my jeans. Fortunately his teeth didn't draw blood, it just left a superficial bruise."

"Such incidents are not new. Why are pet owners so irresponsible? If they know they have a dangerous dog, they must muzzle it," said Laura Glanfield of Poshpaws Animal Sanctuary.

Some like Marr of the Dubai Pug Club said, "If a muzzle is needed as a last resort to stop a dog potentially biting, then there really must be something wrong with the treatment of the animal from its owner. It is the owner and his or her training that can make or break a dog's life."

"It was heartbreaking to see so many large breed dogs that had hind leg problems and could hardly walk — could this be because they are kept in small cages without proper exercise? For this reason, my pugs and I will not be returning next year," she added.

But the event sponsors are already working on beefing up security next year. "In order to improve security for 2013, Dubai Pet Show has been in continuous contact with Dubai Municipality since Friday's event to agree on ways to strengthen security policies and processes, including how they will work together to oversee and regulate entry to any future event," they assured.

‘Onus lies on owners'
but the owners lie!

DUBAI Despite the negative reputation surrounding pitbulls and Staffordshire terriers, a canine specialist says they are gentle dogs until provoked, in which case they may attack to defend themselves.

"American Staffordshire terriers are family dogs," says Aimee Orme, a canine behaviourist from Paws Pet Planet.

Dangerous dogs

The Dubai Municipality banned 16 breeds of dogs in the city in a circular dated October 28, 2007. These breeds include: American pitbull terrier, American bulldog, American Staffordshire terrier, Argentinean mastiff, bull terrier, Canary dog fila brasilerio/Brazilian mastiff, miniature bull terrier, Neapolitan mastiff, Old English bulldog, perro de presa mallorquin/bulldog, Shar Pei, Staffordshire bull terrier, Tosa, husky, Rottweiler, Doberman.

What the Law says

The rules and regulations of the Veterinary Services Section of the Public Health Department under Dubai Municipality clearly state that keeping a prohibited dog is a violation that can result in its confiscation.

Anyone found guilty of "failure to put appropriate mask and/or leash on a dog when exercising or accompanying it in a public place" can be fined Dh200 in the first offence and double the amount in the second offence. If the second offence occurs within a year of the first, the dog is confiscated.

There is also a provision to impound the dog and impose a fine of Dh5,000 on its owner if it causes harm to other people or their properties.

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Old 02-09-2012, 03:31 PM
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Re: It Could Have Been a Child, Say Pet Show Volunteers

Lol Dubai.
I like how they forced their way in. Aggressive owners beget aggressive dogs.

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Old 02-09-2012, 04:17 PM
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Re: It Could Have Been a Child, Say Pet Show Volunteers

stupid owners

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Old 02-09-2012, 04:27 PM
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Re: It Could Have Been a Child, Say Pet Show Volunteers

It's a shame that a group of irresponsible pet owners had to ruin this event. And a poodle had to pay with it's life.

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Old 02-09-2012, 06:50 PM
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Re: It Could Have Been a Child, Say Pet Show Volunteers

Bloody stupid idiots

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Old 02-09-2012, 08:12 PM
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Re: It Could Have Been a Child, Say Pet Show Volunteers

"Trophy dogs" indeed. So many times I see stereotypical "gangsta" wannabes walking a pit bull or Rottie. It makes me sick.

I would have removed my kids or small dogs from that situation with so many irresponsible dog owners.

This story leads me to another question though. Why does no one really look out for anyone else anymore? It's disheartening.

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Old 02-10-2012, 06:52 PM
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:26 PM
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Re: It Could Have Been a Child, Say Pet Show Volunteers

I've shown dogs in AKC sanctioned shows for 12 years. All show dog owners, no matter how politically motivated or corrupt, always have their dogs under control; either on leashes or in crates until show time.

Only once have I ever seen a dog dismissed by a judge due to aggressive behavior. One simply doesn't responsibly breed or show aggressive dogs.

Consider the source. It's Dubai! Money is overflowing, and life is cheap.

Serious question, Mr. John, help me here. Why always the aggressive dog posts - do you hate dogs in general, or just the bull breeds?

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Old 02-11-2012, 03:54 PM
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Re: It Could Have Been a Child, Say Pet Show Volunteers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainplague View Post
I've shown dogs in AKC sanctioned shows for 12 years. All show dog owners, no matter how politically motivated or corrupt, always have their dogs under control; either on leashes or in crates until show time.

Only once have I ever seen a dog dismissed by a judge due to aggressive behavior. One simply doesn't responsibly breed or show aggressive dogs.

Consider the source. It's Dubai! Money is overflowing, and life is cheap.

Serious question, Mr. John, help me here. Why always the aggressive dog posts - do you hate dogs in general, or just the bull breeds?
It's kind of hard to hate dogs in general or even specifically unless a dog is just downright mean and dangerous. Mostly it's asinine owners who should be jailed for willfully endangering the public. I have owned dogs before. I had a dog as a child and loved our dogs. But we never tolerated aggression toward people from our dogs. The most they were allowed to do was bark at strangers. If a dog barked at a family member it got smacked. Dogs aren't all that stupid usually. And often are easily trained. I've had bad dogs and good dogs. I'm not like those who think all dogs are good. That's just stupid delusional thinking. But neither are all dogs bad. Mostly stupid owners coddling dangerous animals and blaming their victims. You say aggressive dogs are not allowed at dog shows... well I agree that it should not be allowed. Also, it should not be allowed in society on our public streets and public areas.
We need stricter laws about owner responsibility. There is no such thing as an accidental attack or unforseen. People blame victims for making mistakes about dogs when constantly there is this meme of "dogs are nice and gentle" coming from the owners of some of the worst dogs. Even the recent dog bit incident that happened to news anchor Dyer is published with a statement from the dogs owner claiming that his dog is a gentle loving family dog and has never bit anyone. Really? It was trying to chase down a coyote when it ended up almost drowning. It was so focused on killing a wild animal that it almost drowned... Not aggressive? Bullshit. I see these disconnects from reality constantly from dog lovers. One of the members of this site stated. "Fuck children, Dogs rule" in response to my assertion that it's irresponsible for dog owners to endanger children with violent aggressive dogs.
I believe people should have rights and freedoms. Unfortunately there has developed a culture here in USA and other western nations that enshrines the "rights" of animals at the expense of people.
Common sense should prevail but unfortunately this is becoming less and less common so perhaps it's time for laws that strengthen the rights of victims and enforce the responsibility of dog owners concerning the actions of the dogs.
And I do post other types of threads on all sorts of topics that interest me in spite of your assertion that it's "always the aggressive dog posts". So on the face of it you are factually dishonest or ignorant and have not seen my other posts.

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Old 02-12-2012, 11:14 AM
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Re: It Could Have Been a Child, Say Pet Show Volunteers

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnleeknoefler View Post
And I do post other types of threads on all sorts of topics that interest me in spite of your assertion that it's "always the aggressive dog posts". So on the face of it you are factually dishonest or ignorant and have not seen my other posts.
No need to be so nasty, John. Perhaps my original post was badly worded. It just appeared to be that the dog posts from you have always been about aggressive dogs.

Thank you for your answer, and I agree with you. Dog owners should be held responsible for the actions of their dogs.

Now if we could only develop a license for having children. But that's a subject for another post.

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