Overhauling the Dangerous Dogs Act: Underlying pain must be considered, says canine expert
Underlying muscle pain can be a trigger for aggressiveness in dogs and must be considered in cases of dangerous behaviour, a canine expert has said.
Julia Robertson, the founder of the Galen Therapy Centre in Sussex which treats dogs suffering from musculoskeletal pain, has spoken out about the links between underlying conditions in canines and attacks in the light of the RSPCA’s report into the Dangerous Dogs Act.
In its paper the animal charity claims the act – introduced in the UK in 1991 – is failing both dogs and the public and is now calling on the Government to overhaul the legislation, and build a better understanding of why dogs bite.
Julia says underlying muscle pain in dogs, often suffered in silence, needs to be considered when looking at the legislation, as it could well be a trigger for out of character behaviour and aggression.
She said: “Dogs cannot communicate their pain to us clearly so if they are suffering from a chronic condition it will often present itself in different ways. A lack of tolerance, avoidance of touch or grooming and aggressive or defensive interactions with other people and dogs are all indicators your pet could be suffering from musculoskeletal pain.”
Julia, who has been working with dogs for 14 years, treats canines suffering from chronic pain and arthritis through myotherapy – a specialised ‘hands on’ manual muscle treatment. Her mission is to provide a solution for dogs that may otherwise be facing euthanasia.
She added: “Dogs could have been suffering muscle pain that could have contributed to an attack and sadly in many cases, these beloved pets are put down. Of course, underlying pain is not the cause of aggression in every case but is certainly a consideration.
“At the Galen Therapy Centre, we believe no dog should have to be put down unnecessarily if it is simply suffering from muscle pain, that may not be solved through traditional medical treatments.”
For more information about the RSPCA’s report visit www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/dogownership/bsl
The Galen Therapy Centre is based in Bolney, West Sussex and has been treating dogs since 2002. Canine myotherapy is derived from massage and is intended to treat compensatory issues from a pathology (condition), past trauma or repetitive strain.
Pictured: Julia treating a dog with myotherapy at the Galen Therapy Centre in West Sussex.