Warning against demonising Rottweilers
PET owners and animal charities have called for people not to demonise certain dog breeds.
Their rallying cry comes after a dog was killed by another in Tewkesbury last week.
Buddie the Jack Russell was mauled to death by a rottweiler while both were being walked by their owners in a field in Northway. The rottweiler's owner later had her pet put down as a result.
But there has been a call for there not to be a knee-jerk reaction to the tragedy.
The RSPCA has said it would be wrong to assume that just because a dog was of a certain breed, it would be dangerously aggressive.
Niki McVicker, of Queen's Road, Tewkesbury, has an eight-month-old rottweiler. She insists that, as long as dog owners are responsible, there is no reason why their pets should be a threat to any person or animal.
She said: "I'm a responsible rottweiler owner. My dog's manners are impeccable in public. I certainly don't want him to be a problem in society."
She said she had put the effort in to train her dog properly but would still not let him run free in public areas.
Referring to the fact that the rottweiler involved in the Northway incident was not on a lead, she said: "It was a mistake. You shouldn't have the dog off the lead in public."
Niki said certain breeds had been branded as being dangerous following incidents over the years but she said it was the owners and not the dogs who were to blame for problems.
"People have got to be aware of what they're purchasing or adopting.
"My previous rottweiler was not dog-friendly and could be aggressive but, because of my control, I never had an incident," she said.
Judith Haw, county RSPCA spokeswoman, urged people to keep their dogs on a lead in a public place.
"It's about responsible ownership. If you've got a dog that's prone to attacking others, maybe have it on a muzzle," she said.
She added the RSPCA would not demonise a particular breed of dog as all kinds could be aggressive, depending on the situation.
"There are rottweilers that never attack anyone or anything. They can be great family pets," she said.
John Humphries, the manager at Cheltenham Animal Shelter, backed the RSPCA's stance, adding: "Any dog can bite and attack another dog. It's just unfortunate that, in this case, a larger dog attacked a little one.
"We don't know the circumstances surrounding it.
"The danger here is people are going to have a knee-jerk reaction. They might get rid of rottweilers as a result.
"The RSPCA are quite right not to demonise them."
He added that the incident had been "unfortunate" but should not be used to castigate one particular breed."