Richard Moore: Tackling a feral menace

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What a horrific dog attack in this city over the weekend.

Three roaming dogs attacked and killed two family cats and then managed to elude capture.

Unsurprisingly the beasts were pit bull-like dogs, known around the globe for their savagery - to animals and humans.

And while there may occasionally be good owners who have pit bulls, in general we know the type of people they are.

They want to be tough and so have a nasty dog, they don't control them well and, if they are out creating havoc on our streets, don't really care.

You can also bet your bottom dollar that they won't register their killers.

As one wag once said, you can tell how savage a dog is going to be by the number of tattoos the owner has. The attacks occurred in Welcome Bay and the beasts ripped apart a 1-year-old tortoiseshell called Missy and then fatally injured a 3-year-old ginger cat called Oscar.

My heart goes out to the owners of the cats as I too have had a pet killed by dogs, also called Missy.

I heard the noises over the neighbour's fence, leapt over it with an axe handle and got her body.

Had it not been for the fact she was in their property I would have killed both alsatians on the spot.

Pit bulls must not be allowed to roam our streets.

If they are caught they should be locked away and, if unregistered, put down.

And it does make you wonder why there are not more Tauranga city dog controllers and why they don't seem to work at weekends.

After all, protecting the public from uncontrolled dogs should be a priority.


What's in a name? Well, plenty if people don't pronounce your name correctly.

This week Education Minister Hekia Parata got stuck into secondary school teachers about not pronouncing the names of Maori or Pasifika children correctly.

This, she said, upset the kids and made them feel undervalued and they weren't respected enough by the teachers for them to make an effort.

I'm lucky in that my name is easy to pronounce - well, apart from some Kiwis calling me Rutchard.

When Parata made her comments - bravely at a Post Primary Teachers Association conference - the attendees got a bit miffed. How dare their boss have such an attitude. You could hear them bristle from my place.

But the minister is right. Teachers should show respect to the children by saying their names correctly and if they struggle with more difficult pronunciations then they should practise them.

The president of the PPTA, Robin Duff, wasn't impressed by Ms Parata's comments and said they were "dangerous" and a "low blow". Oh dear, pass me a hankie.

Mr Duff said teachers already placed a high level of importance on getting names right.

Well, if that's the case, why are they still getting them wrong?

What a week in US politics.

There was a debate between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, which the latter is said to have won, and then he goes and shoots himself in the head by taking on one of the world's most iconic characters.

Romney said that while he loved Big Bird, he would cut Government funding for Sesame St in a bid to reduce America's ginormous deficit.

Is the guy a loon? When you want to win hearts and minds the last thing to pick on is a big fluffy yellow TV character beloved to most Americans since toddlerhood.

It would be like banning apple pie and cancelling Mother's Day.

There was an immediate uproar and Big Bird's mates on Twitter tweeted their opposition like a flock of angry birds.

The Public Broadcasting Service, which produces Sesame St, gets about 15 per cent of its funding from the US Government. The rest is sponsorship, gifts and selling toys and products.

If Romney really wanted to cut the US deficit he could look at pulling US troops out of Afghanistan, an operation that costs US$260 million a day.

But he won't. Although he may discover that Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and little Elmo will be tougher opponents than al Qaeda or the Taleban.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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