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Pet bullies on the increase

BRITAIN IS a nation under siege from an epidemic of pet bullies! 39% of Brits believe their neighbours’ pets are a threat to their children and almost half (46%) have had their property damaged by other people’s pets. That’s according to Pet Watch – the UK’s biggest and first national study into pet behaviour across the country carried out by leading pet insurance provider Petplan.

The survey findings show that Britain’s pets are out of control. Pets getting into scrapes and injuring themselves cost owners an estimated £246 million pounds last year alone.

60% of Britons experience regular nuisance noise; cats fighting, howling and trespassing on their property. The worst cases occur in Yorkshire and the West Country, where over two thirds (67%) of people are affected.

1 in 3 of us has had our pet terrorised by the local pet bully – with Scotland proving to be a bullying black spot - 17% of Scottish cat owners admitted that their pet is a bully!

47% of Britons reported that their pets had been hurt in an attack by other cats and dogs. The problem is highest in the South West of the country where 63% of pet owners say their cat or dog has been attacked by a neighbourhood pet.

42% of people are so scared of their neighbours’ pets, they refuse to let their cats out, with the over 50s (52%) most wary.

Scots have the most pet hates. 61% feel concern for their children around neighbours’ pets, and 55% say their pet has been attacked by another local pet. 62% say they experience regular nuisance noise from neighbourhood pets.

21% of Britons would like to slap an ASBO on a naughty neighbourhood pet – rising to 40% in Scotland.

Vets support the findings - 71% have noticed a decline in pet behaviour with 59% experiencing pet aggression first hand. A further 38% of vets believe disobedience and aggression is on the increase.

Petplan worked with YouGov to ask over 2,000 people across the country to blow the whistle on local pets following press reports of badly behaved cats and dogs. Thousands of Petplan’s customers also shared details of their pets’ conduct, and over 100 vets gave professional insights to the first annual pet census.

Petplan’s Veterinary Consultant, TV Vet Scott Miller, said: ‘Pet Watch proves that the nation’s ‘moggy-coddling’ is producing a generation of badly behaved cats and pampered pooches, and they are causing havoc on our streets. People are often attracted to fashionable dog breeds but do not appreciate the stimulation different types of dogs need.

The increasing cat population could be fuelling ‘turf wars’ too, but on the whole this is an owner, not an animal problem. The cost of veterinary treatment for fight related injuries can run into hundreds of pounds so there are serious implications. Perhaps it’s time to introduce the ASPOO – Anti Social Pet Owner Order.’

Victoria Stilwell of Channel 4’s ‘It’s Me or the Dog’ programme added: ‘I’m not surprised that the Pet Watch study has uncovered these statistics. Dogs that were once bred to work alongside man are now leading boring and un-stimulating lives in the home.

The pressure on humans to cope with the ever-increasing cost of living means that the majority of pet owners have to go out to work and many pets are left on their own for long periods during the day as a result. The domestic dog, which thrives on social contact, is now finding itself coping with long periods of isolation and that can have devastating consequences.’

‘This study illustrates what trainers have been saying for years, that owners need to take more responsibility for their pets’ behaviour. The results of Pet Watch should be taken very seriously.’