Dialogue:______read aloud in pairs

A: Do you think there are too many dogs?


B: Possibly. If you visit a supermarket, you may find a whole aisle dedicated to pet food. I like dogs, but not all dog owners take sufficient responsibility.


A: How do you mean?


B: I like to see dogs on leads when I am walking along pavement or driving along roads. When they are off leads, I feel that there's always a chance that their owners don't want to clean up after them. Also some pedestrians are nervous of dogs and deserve more consideration.


A: But I've seen some dogs off leads which are remarkably well trained. There are stories of dogs which go alone to the local shop to collect the newspaper.


B: That may well be. You can train a guide dog to help a blind person to cross the road safely, but these are exceptions. The law has to be made for everybody. If all dogs roamed freely on our streets, there would surely be road safety hazards. I remember too in my youth when packs of dogs went around unleashed. As a child walking to school, it was quite a frightening experience.


A: You don't see that today. The roads are just too busy now. But these days it is very easy to own a dog. Before 1987, you had to have a licence.


B: Licences didn't cost much, so they didn't stop dog ownership. Their abolition was followed by a series of government acts. Since 1990, if your dog's barking causes a nuisance to neighbours, this may constitute a 'statutory nuisance' under the Environmental Protection Act. The Dangerous Dogs Act makes it a criminal offence to allow a dog to be 'dangerously out of control', and since 2014 from 8 weeks of age all dogs on mainland UK have to be microchipped and the keeper's details registered.


A: And still, we are a nation of dog lovers!

-----© Ted Power