Take Two

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A PROLOGUE to today’s ‘Silly Season’ main story...

The best/worst example I ever found himself filing was about a toddler who, after eating his breakfast, left his remaining beans in the shape of... Australia.

His dad snapped a picture, sent it in and, to my eternal mortification, the news editor liked it so much, it ended up on page three of the Halifax Evening Courier.

Still, at least it amused one reader.

The day after publication I received an email from a chap saying he was planning on having beans for tea and did we fancy sending a photographer along in case he left some looking like New Zealand?

Ouch.

*****

JUST like actors are told they should never work with animals, it’s not always wise for newspaper columnists to write about dogs.

Pet-owners – perhaps rightly so – are sensitive about anyone besmirching their good name.

Letters to editors tend to follow any minor criticism.

Which is why it should be made clear this column certainly understands the vast majority of such pet-owners are responsible animal-lovers with the kind of big hearts and generous souls that are prerequisite if one is to share their home with a creature that pays no rent, expects to be fed and leaves hair all over the place.

But.

Isn’t there something shocking about the statistic, revealed in this paper yesterday, that five people in South Yorkshire are taken to hospital every week with dog bites?

These can include lost body parts – one councillor had part of her finger ripped off – and attacks so severe they leave life-long problems.

Surely, if these kind of injuries in these kind of numbers were being inflicted by other means – guns or knives, for example – we’d all be demanding a crackdown on the offenders.

Why treat the irresponsible owners of out-of-control dogs – living, breathing weapons in the wrong hands – any different?