Thursday, June 24, 2004

Tiggy is a lovely little bitch. She’s old now, but she has always been sweet and good-natured, wonderful with kids. Our Sis and Mr. Our Sis have always had lovely dogs. Tiggy is actually Tiggy 2. Before her there was Tiggy 1 and before her there was Dougal.

Now it’s looking like there isn’t going to be a Tiggy 3. Because Tiggy 2 is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, as was Tiggy 1 before her. Dougal was a Rottweiller. But I don’t think any of them were aware that they were dangerous dogs*. My kitten is more aggressive than all three of them put together.

Last week, a four year old girl in Tel Aviv was killed by her father’s Amstaff. A sweet little girl called Avivit. The dog attacked her while they were playing in the living room and tore her throat apart.

It was the first time a dog had killed a person in Israel. The father had just got out of prison. The dog had been staying somewhere else while he was interned. The neighbors said they had been terrified of the dog. I read somewhere that everyone knew that the father used to beat it with a stick.

A public debate ensued, regarding the question of destroying the dog. I believe it is a sign of Israeli society’s inherent humanity that people could understand that it was not the dog that was to blame here. Attempts were made to find a home for the poor creature, in the IDF or in the Shin Bet. No, not so it could chew up Palestinian children too (some people’s minds are really twisted, but now I can’t remember where I read that), but so it could live out its days running along a leash, guarding security installations, being useful.

It was put to death yesterday afternoon by lethal injection.

And now they’ve made a list of dangerous breeds of dogs, including Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Rottweillers, and they’re planning to gradually make them illegal. I hope they let Tiggy live out what’s left of her life in peace.

It makes me very sad, because I know it’s the people who are dangerous, and it’s they who make the dogs dangerous (although I am told Amstaffs were bred in America specifically for dog fights, so maybe they can’t help being aggressive).

But how can you keep tabs on those who mistreat these dogs and rear them to be killers? How can you make sure that only Our Sis compatibles are allowed to adopt them and look after them? There are plans to sack one thousand policemen from an already sorely undermanned police force. Public veterinarian services are probably not faring the recession much better. Dogs and dog owners are certainly not high on anyone’s agenda right now.

Ultimately, under the circumstances, and knowing how things often work in this country, outlawing the dogs is probably the only practical solution that can prevent this or other such horrible events from happening again.

But I do fear it will be the Our Sis’s and their well-bred ‘good’ dogs that pay the price, while the criminals continue keeping problematic breeds of dogs, turning them into monsters, and terrorizing their neighborhoods with them, and people will be too scared to shop them to the authorities.

* Okay, so I do know that dogs are not capable of being aware of anything.