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Reality Bites

How do you know whether a dog is dangerous or not?

It seems that often the dogs you would least expect turn out to be the most aggressive of all.

Pitbull 1 Alanna Doyle from Cavan with family pet

Readers should note that this article contains images of a dog that has been subjected to great cruelty that they may find upsetting. Viewer discretion is advised.

AN EDITION OF RTÉ’s Reality Bites will this evening delve into what constitutes a dangerous dog.

Headlines are replete at present with stories both of great animal cruelty and of animals, particularly dogs, inflicting terrible injuries on humans.

On Monday, a domestic pet, a collie, seriously injured an eight-year-old boy in Waterford city.

That dog has since been put to sleep and its owner identified. But collies are not, in general terms anyway, seen as a breed that would be dangerous towards children.

The RTÉ programme will look at whether or not certain dogs deserve their reputation, what it’s like to own an animal on Ireland’s restricted canine list, and follows the story of a dog that has been scheduled to be destroyed as its owners battle its sentence in court.

Pitbull 2 The Doyle family from Cavan and friends

A series of clips outline that it is often the animal you would least suspect that could potentially be the most dangerous, while so-called dangerous breeds are often subjected to horrendous cruelty for simply being the kind of dog that they are.

ISPCA warden Frankie Coote says that “a dangerous dog can be any breed, any dog at all”.

Dogs that have been classed as pets, like labradors for example, are among the most dangerous dogs I’ve seen.
I had to deal with a black labrador recently who attacked his own owner. I’ve never, ever seen a more dangerous dog in the 25 years I’ve been doing this job. He would have killed me if he could have, and would have killed a member of the public if he’d escaped.

RTÉ2 / YouTube

A couple, Laura Harford and Jason Hanbury, discuss what it’s like having young children together with a pitbull for a pet.

RTÉ2 / YouTube

Vet Tom Spillane meanwhile deals with the case of Buzz the Staffordshire bull terrier, who has suffered horrible wounds through either dog-fighting or dog-baiting.

Warning: this video depicts evidence of extreme animal cruelty

RTÉ2 / YouTube

“This is a docile animal, it doesn’t deserve to be victimised like this,” says Spillane.

These dogs get a bad reputation because of their appearance, but you’re in more danger of being licked than bitten.

Reality Bites: Pitbull will air tonight at 9.30pm on RTÉ 2

Read: Man who violently killed dog in park full of children avoids jail

Read: This puppy had to be put down after it was beaten by schoolboys

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