‘Enough is enough’: Dog owners in denial
WHEN you become a parent, there's one very simple rule we all need to abide by: Protect your children. At all costs. But when it comes to dogs, many of us turn a blind eye as to what is considered risky or dangerous.
Let's talk about rottweilers and the unspeakable tragedy of one-year-old Kamillah Jones who lost her life in Inverell in northern NSW on Saturday after being attacked by a rottweiler.
How many deaths will it take before action is taken and these dangerous dogs are banned? Cue all the rottweiler defenders who will say time and time again, "It's very rare, most rottweilers are perfectly gentle," "My Rottweiler's as gentle as a lamb," "It's the owners who are at fault, not the dog," and so on. (And no doubt I'll be labelled a dog hater: I'm not, I love dogs and cherish our small four-legged friend.)
Of course, when a dog is properly trained, it can make a huge difference. And there are countless stories about so-called "dangerous breeds" that wouldn't harm a fly.
But, even if you are even slightly worried that a particular breed of dog might "turn" one day and hurt a child, then buy a breed that is not known to be potentially dangerous.
Last year there was another tragedy as Perth woman Sue Lopicich was mauled to death by her bull-mastiff, the family pet and, also last year, Canberra woman Tania Klemke was killed by her pit bull when she intervened as the dog was attacking her friend.
A 10-year-old Melbourne girl was saved by her neighbours last night as a dog "went berserk" attacking her and leaving her with severe injuries.
The dog, believed to be a bull-mastiff, a large breed of dog linked to the English mastiff and the English bulldog, was seized by local rangers.
But the 10-year-old, who is said to be lucky to be alive, remains in a serious condition in hospital with serious injuries including bites and lacerations and is believed to have lost an ear.
Enough is enough. If the death of a one-year-old child is not enough for action to be taken, I don't know what is.
There are hundreds of breeds of dogs in the world. If you have small children and you want to get a dog, choose a breed that is not likely to ever harm a child.
Even better, get a small dog - one that is actually physically smaller than your toddler. Just don't risk an injury or a death because the heartache and devastation of losing a child would be absolutely horrific.
If any breed is powerful enough to kill a person, you shouldn't have it around a small child at all. But dog owners always "know best" and believe they know their pet would never, ever harm a human.
The truth is, though, we don't really know and no matter how much we love our dogs, all dog owners must put the love of their kids first.
Australians have been great at banning guns - now it's time to ban dangerous dogs. What we need right now is federal legislation that ensures a tragedy like the death of little Kamillah never happens again.
Let the death of Kamillah be another version of Port Arthur and the banning of guns; let us proudly say that, as a nation, we all said "enough is enough" and that the death of a one-year-old was the very last time such a tragedy has occurred.
Let's put aside our love for these dangerous breeds and put the memory of Kamillah first, as well as the families who are still suffering from the loss of their loved ones at the hands of these breeds.