Dog owners from around Mansfield and Ashfield have rushed to the defence of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier after a number of Staffies were involved in attacks on other dogs in the area.
Two weeks ago, Chad launched its Dob on a Dog campaign - aimed at tackling the problem of irresponsible dog ownership after the Government introduced tough new powers to target so-called ‘weapon dogs’.
Readers have contacted the paper detailing attacks on their pets by Staffies and other bull breeds.
But dozens of Staffie owners have also been in touch to say the breed makes a loving and loyal family pets in the right hands, and that a minority of owners are giving Staffies a bad name.
Many Staffie owners have contacted Chad to describe attacks on their dogs by other breeds, while others have said that a small minority of owners is giving the breed a bad name.
Ricky Golding (28) of Redruth Drive, Mansfield, was brought up with the breed and said his 15-month-old Staffie Roxy is a wonderful family pet.
He said: “Staffies are the most amazing family dogs - they are very loyal.
“I’ve been around Staffies all my life and Roxy is lovely - very soft and calm, and very good with other dogs. She absolutely loves my two-year-old son Declan - they don’t leave each other alone and play together all the time.
“What is important to remember is that it isn’t the breed that is the problem - it’s the people owning them. It’s these young guys who think they look hard, but any breed can be dangerous if they are brought up in the wrong hands.
“The Staffie is getting a bad press because of these unreasonable people who are mistreating them. The breed wasn’t put on this earth to use for fighting or for status.
“But as an owner you do experience a lot of prejudice from others. If I’m out with Roxy on the fields, people see a young man with a Staffie and they jump to conclusions and I really want to appeal to other dog owners to give Staffies a chance and not assume they are all bad.”
Chad’s Dob on a Dog campaign was launched after we were contacted by a Mansfield woman whose own pet was savaged by a pack of dogs, which were not Staffies, while she was out walking in Moor Lane Park with her nine-month-old grandchild.
The woman, who is not being named for fear of repercussions, wants all readers to report dog attacks to police, local councils, politicians and Chad.
She is also calling for a host of new measures to tackle irresponsible dog ownership, including compulsory dog training, the return of dog licensing, a formal owners’ register and DNA testing for all mixed-breed dogs, regardless of their parentage.
Chad reader Lisa Ducker also got in touch to explain that hundreds of Staffies cannot be re-homed because people are wary of the breed.
She said: “My dog Molly is a one-year-old Staffie who needed a home. I was not planning of get another dog just yet but I couldn’t leave her to fall in to the wrong hands or for her to become another Staffie on death row in the dog pound to be put down like hundreds are every day for doing nothing wrong,
“I’m a good owner and there are hundreds of people who are too. Molly has been spayed so as not to add anymore unwanted puppies, she is chipped too and has been doing agility classes. We hope she will be able to compete next year.
“Molly lives with another two dogs in a family home and she love’s meeting everyone.
“The only down side to Molly’s life is she was born a Staffie and is judge on her breed and not judge for who she is - a great little dog.”
Staffie owner Richard Gedney contacted Chad to say that his dog has been attacked by other breeds on several occasions while out walking in Moor Lane Park.
He said: “My Staffie has been bitten at least half a dozen times - twice by Jack Russell, once by a German Shepherd, and the rest were Collies. Not once has my dog bitten back, and I always I say, ‘it’s okay, no harm done’.
“But from the other side, I’ve seen owners pull their dogs away as we’ve approach, and even cross over the road.”
Have you been the victim of a dog attack? Contact Chad on 01623 450303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
MAIN PICTURE: Ricky Golding, his partner Chelsea Thompson and two-year-old son Declan, with their Staffordshire Bull Terrier Roxy. Above is Lisa Ducker’s dog Molly performing agility.