Dog Fighting on the Increase in Nigeria

According to reports by vets and household help (who often don't know any better), organised dog fighting has increased at least 10-fold in the last couple of years. This is an extremely worryingdevelopment with the upsurge of exotic fighting breeds entering Nigeria daily. In one very disturbing discussion the writer had with a gentleman recently, the individual boasted
about having the strongest fighting dogs in Lagos and even went on to say how one of his dogs
had been killed that morning in a fight. What struck me most vividly was the fact that he stated
that he had, "wanted to see who was stronger". The two pugilists were a Japanese Tosa and a Presa Canario.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that this has become a lifestyle, a pastime and a form of entertainment for some irresponsible dog owners. There is a need to change owner behaviour
in this regard. Worst still, local communities are being put at risk by having such dogs out there
on their streets. Dog aggression appears to be a macho issue and here is the real crux of the
matter. I had to disqualify two dogs at a recent dog show for showing signs of fighting. The handler of one of the dogs admitted the dog had fought and won that very morning. This kind of unnecessary practice has no place in civilised society. A link between this kind of activity and anti-social and criminal aggressive behaviour has already been established. A link has even been suggested to drug dealing, though unsubstantiated. What is mind boggling is that it is not a past time of the underclass, but is emerge in high brow areas as a bizarre form of entertainment.

The good news is that this matter is being looked into by law enforcement agencies. "Good dog owners are being given a bad name" said one spokesman, "and we must do something about this phenomenon." These dogs suffer horrendous injuries which sometimes end up in the dogs
being killed or put down. In one particularly callous case, a losing dog was suffocated and murdered because he had embarrassed his owner. Due to the underground nature of this activity, it is very difficult to pinpoint where it goes on and when. Sadly, the kind of dogs that have suddenly enjoyed an unparalleled popularity for their guarding ability also provides the material for the more noxious types. There is concern among the public at the moment about dogs in general; whether it be high profile attacks on children (that largely go unreported), organised dog fighting or young men turning up at dog shows or walking along the public roads or standing around on street corners with tough looking dogs in search of potential victims. A few particular breeds have been found to make up the highest percentage of those used for this purpose. You find when you're out walking a large bull breed people will carefully avoid you - just in case you happen to be an undesirable. It is time to put this absurd practice away for good and attempts should be made to bring all these people together to discuss the issue and provide them with alternative activities with which to enjoy their dogs.

Adedapo A Ojora

Dangerous Dogs

With Michael Vick and dog fighting making headlines, a growing number of communities are banning ownership of certain breeds of dogs that are perceived as dangerous. The "bad dogs" that earn the ban are usually Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. This begs the question, Are some breeds really more dangerous than, others? Each year nearly 5 million people are bitten by dogs. Just under 20 percent require stitches at the local emergency room. Tragically, every year there are a handful of bite victims who die from being mauled by an aggressive dog. In addition to Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Malamutes, Great Danes, Dobermanns, Chow Chows, St. Bernards, Huskies and Akitas have all been involved in fatalities in the past decade. As would be expected, the larger the aggressive dog the greater likelihood it would have the strength and size to inflict fatal wounds.

A Chihuahua may be just as aggressive as his larger cousins but lacks the heft to inflict much damage. A study by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the CDC, and the Humane Society of the United States, analyzed dog bite statistics from the last 20 years and found that the statistics don't show that any breeds are inherently more dangerous than others. The study showed that the more popular a large breed dogs was at the time, the greater the likelihood that breed would be involved in a fatal mauling. For example, the doberman, Pinscher was the Pit Bull of the 1970s.Highly popular at the time and with its size and strength made it a formidable watchdog.

In the 1990s, the Dobermann disappeared from the backyards in rough neighborhoods and were replaced with Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. In the 1950s and 1960s, the aggressive breed was the German Shepherd. Dogs can be aggressive or nonaggressive depending on the owner and how the breed was trained. If the owner abuses the dog or rewards aggressive behaviour, then the likelihood of having a biter goes up dramatically. It has often been said that some people, should be banned from ever owning a dog. Here are a few commonsense ways to prevent your dog from going bad:

1 Restrain your pet. Eight out of nine fatal dog bites are inflicted by a unrestrained dog.

2 Socialize your dog. Let your pet mingle with other dogs and people. Start early. Take your puppy with you everywhere you can and let him develop normal, non- aggressive habits. A dog that has been chained in the backyard its entire life is much more likely to bite someone than a canine who spends every afternoon at the park.

3 Spay or neuter your dog. Four out of five fatalities are caused by male dogs that have not been neutered.

4 Train your dog not to bite. Start early. Do not allow your puppy to chew on you or growl at members of the family. Chew toys are for chewing, not people. Reward good behaviour and make it clear to your dog what is and what is not acceptable.

5 Keep an eye on your dog's behaviour. Dogs don't become aggressive overnight. It usually starts early and there are many warning signs. If your dog exhibits any of the following behaviours, it's time for obedience school. They would include growling or snapping at family members; growling or snapping at strangers; or extreme fear of strangers. The best dog in the world can still bite someone if it feels cornered or threatened.


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