I wouldn’t normally blog, I promise, about the death of a much-loved family pet but the circumstances of Beetle cat’s end are so hideous and so symptomatic of a wider social malaise I thought they deserved mention.
Beetle was killed right in front of me just a couple of hours ago in my garden by a dog which leapt over our fence and broke his neck. The dog belonged to one member of a gang of South London hoodies who like to congregate on the steps of the estate on the other side of my garden wall.
When I rang the police they told me there was nothing they could do: it was an “animal on animal” incident and therefore beyond their jurisdiction. Fair enough, except that this beast had clearly been trained up for use as a weapon. I don’t blame the dog. I do very much blame the owner. You see kids like him in our park quite often, training their Staffies (and similar breeds) to clamp their teeth round each others necks and rip and tear and shake in a trial of gangland machismo. Poor Beetle never stood a chance.
But what is to be done? Already in Britain after twelve years under Nu Lav we have far, far too much intrusive legislation. The animal welfare act – under which pet owners are now liable for prosecution if they fail, say, to ensure their cat has a cat flap – is quite illiberal enough already. And the last thing we need is to give more powers to the boys in black from the RSPCA.
Normally I have an answer for everything. On this occasion I don’t. Does anyone?