Rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK, with an estimated 1.6 million kept in and outside of our homes. They are also the most neglected and mistreated animal companion in the nation. Out-dated preconceptions that rabbits are hutch loving, carrot crunching, cheap, small-child friendly pets is largely to blame.
I remember the first time my mum gave our Border collie some ground up, well, something. It was in the late sixties and I believe, roughly when dogs (and I guess cats) were first given 'kibble', as we know it today. I think the main reason was convenience, no more smelly empty cans of dog food, far less heavy when going shopping etc, etc.
Problem dogs, we've all met them. As a child a neighbour's Collie regularly chased me the length of the street, at the time it felt like I was running for my life. But now I know that the dog wasn't trying to eat me, it was herding me. It was following its natural instinct and doing the job it was bred to do.
You may have read pop singer Will Young's Huffington Post blog recently in which he rightly railed against park wardens who refused to help him find his dog Esme due to 'health and safety rules'. Three times the worried singer asked wardens for a lift in their vehicles to help search for his errant pooch and three times he was refused on 'health and safety' grounds.
We need penalties for those owners who allow their dogs to attack and kill other dogs, cats, and other animals. We need better controls on dog breeding, advertising and sales. Only when we insist on better behaviour from the person on the other end of the lead will we be able to address the dangerous owner problem.
It seems to be one of the perils of running a business in a city, if we were in the country I'm pretty certain I could make use of a church hall, a rugby club or a horse riding centre. My issue is that if we want our dogs to be properly socialised in the right way, for owners and dogs to be taught, to receive advice and learn then I need to be able to provide a safe and productive space to do this.