DOGS: Relax and be tolerant

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I feel compelled to write after reading the ‘for and against’ arguments regarding dogs in North Tyneside, particularly after the letter which claimed that “people come first”, (News Guardian, January 26).

People come first? Really? What a heartbreaking example of the attitude that some people have today.

Do we as humans now believe that this Earth is reserved just for us? As a civilised society, should we not all be exercising a little more tolerance towards other creatures? Should we not be teaching children the same values instead of suggesting that humanity is the only species with any importance?

Unfortunately, there is an all too common attitude that people come first and all other living beings exist only for our use, enjoyment or entertainment. It is this attitude that has the natural world in the state it is in now, with abuse and extinctions of animals.

With specific regard to the argument about dogs on beaches and public spaces, surely people who don’t like dogs can be tolerant of those who breathe the same air as them, both human owners and canine.

From a personal point of view, I don’t have children, I don’t like them and I choose not to have them in my life, but I 100 per cent accept children, their right to be on this Earth and to occupy the same space as me, and I do not wish them to be confined, restricted or marginalised just because they are inconvenient to me.

Although some of us may not choose the company of children, or even some adults, surely we can realise that other living beings have as much right to enjoy open spaces and local facilities.

And please let us have a dose of perspective. There are not “hundreds of dogs running wild” on our beaches and there are not packs of dogs savaging children on a daily basis.

We are all taxpayers and entitled to the same use and enjoyment of our area as each other. There are some who love running, cycling, walking dogs, flying kites or playing football, and we can live alongside each other without any one of those groups claiming a greater priority.

Don’t get me wrong, dog owners are not always perfect. They can be just as irresponsible as anyone else, and I do not claim that they should have any priority either. Just relax and be tolerant.

As human beings, allegedly the most evolved and intelligent of all species, can’t we live alongside those things we personally don’t like? Can’t people rub shoulders with dogs and their owners, and everyone else, and accept their right to enjoy life? You don’t have to like them, but be respectful of other people’s rights.

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