Recently, I received a disturbing press release stating that police forces and the Guide Dogs charity had signed an agreement to work together as 10 guide dogs a month are being attacked and injured.
You can imagine the terrifying effect on a blind, deaf or disabled person whose dog is attacked as well as the animal’s pain and distress.
The dog may never work again and the person they were guiding may be imprisoned in their own home until they get another trained dog.
I felt anger and bewilderment. Who would attack a guide dog? Of course, there are people out there who are really sick and attach lighted fireworks to cats and other acts which should condemn them to spend the rest of their lives picking up dog poo with their bare hands. But attacking guide dogs as a sport? Never.
The release did not make it clear who was doing the attacking.
I read down further. The agreement will be applied to all crimes involving guide dogs. Really? Could these sweet saints of the canine world be committing crimes?
Reading on, I finally got to the nub of the problem. Since May last year, it has been an offence to be in charge of a dog that attacks an assistance dog.
So these “crimes” are being committed by the owners of dogs that attack other dogs. Thanks for the clarification.
There is a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison for the dog owner. And presumably the attacker will be put down.
Some dog lovers may think this is the wrong way round as many different dogs can be bred to be dangerous by irresponsible owners.
Journalist Andrew Marr recently commented that being human is having a slightly disturbing relationship with the evolved creatures whom we share the planet with, sentimentalising them, eating them and making friends with them; though rarely at the same time.
I may not be a dog owner, but I did feel a flash of anger at the thought that someone could be attacking a harnessed guide dog. In the same way, I felt tearful one morning when I read a release about a bag of puppies being thrown off a motorway bridge.
A crime writer of my acquaintance is well known for her gritty detective novels. No-one would have said a word if she had violently killed off a devout nun or a young child had been murdered and/or abducted (think Dan Brown, Broadchurch and The Missing and see where they are in the popularity stakes).
But when she dared to kill off a family pet in one of her books, she got mail by the sackful. People will forgive anything other than the shooting of Fido.
My favourite story of the week involved the parents of a child who were sent an invoice after their five-year-old son failed to attend a birthday party.
The party hosts were too cowardly to confront the mum and dad of the no-show boy. Instead, they shoved the bill for £15.95 in his schoolbag, or rather, they probably got their child to do it.
The furious mum said she had been left out of pocket after the bash at the Plymouth ski centre.
What sort of effect is this going to have on her boy when he grows up? Will he sue every time he is stood up on a date?