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Another Dog Attack - Are The Media Making Things Worse?

Nine year old Jordan Gillon is today recovering after being bitten by three Rottweilers in his home. The incident happened whilst Jordan was playing with the son of the dogs' owner. One of the dogs has been put down and the other two are said to be under consideration for the same fate.

Dramatic press reactions swiftly followed the terrible and terrifying incident. One daily tabloid managed to use the phrase "devil dogs" twice in one short report, alongside emotive descriptions such as "snarling" and "savage".

Whilst much of the broadcast media has been commendably fair and balanced in the wake of recent dog attacks, the same cannot be said for certain publications. Clearly, emotive journalism is equally as valuable as balanced, factual reporting, but at what cost to dogs and their owners?
K9 Magazine spoke to a serving Police Constable who explained first hand how the media portrayal of dog attacks is having a direct affect on his day to day work.

"Since the little girl was tragically killed in Leicester, myself and colleagues have been called to a substantially higher number of dog bite incidents than ever before. We take all calls of this nature very seriously, but what surprises and disturbs is the way parents and onlookers demand that the dog in question is destroyed. Of course a bite can be upsetting and of yes, sometimes fatal, but many times we are called to attend a case where a young dog has nipped a child on the arm, sometimes we arrive and the child is off playing whilst the mother protests that the dog is dangerous.

I have even attended scenes where neighbours and witnesses have taken me aside and informed me that the bite victim, usually a child, had been teasing or scaring the dog in question. One incident involving a Rottweiler pup resulted in me having to caution the parent of a child for wasting police time. She admitted that her son had been "roughing up" the dog and the bite was so mild that the child was happily playing on his bike.

I put it down to the media hysteria which paints certain breeds as killing machines. It puts panic into communities and they react to it by being over cautious."

Perhaps one of the reasons more dog attacks are "happening" is simply that more dog attacks are being reported in the press, causing more people to report minor incidents to the press.

http://www.k9magazine.com/viewarticle.php?sid=15&aid=1765&vid=0&npage
 
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