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The message of the muzzle: a study in labelling

The message of the muzzle: a study in labelling

Kaspersson, Maria (2019) The message of the muzzle: a study in labelling. In: 2019 BSC Annual Conference – Public Criminologies: Communities, Conflict and Justice, 2nd - 5th July 2019, Lincoln. (Unpublished)

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Dogs of banned breeds that are exempted according to the Dangerous Dogs Act must, among other things, be muzzled and on lead when in public places. The rationale being to protect people from (fatal) dog bites. As the owner of an exempted pit bull terrier the experience is that rather than making people feel safe, it often makes them afraid of the muzzled dog instead. In an earlier ethnographic study of so called ‘status’ dogs, the reactions to my muzzled dog were also recorded and the analysis of these cases forms the base of the present study. The conclusions that can be drawn are that the muzzle is sending out strong symbolic messages about viciousness and the less the person is involved with dogs, the stronger the message is about danger to humans rather than danger to other dogs. Consequently, the muzzle can be seen as a stigma that people react to in different ways. It is a problem that a preventive measure (muzzling) is producing fear in the general public and it is also problematic as it means that some dog owners are reluctant to use the muzzle due to the way people react to it.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dangerous Dogs Act; labelling; stigma; muzzle
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2023 14:34

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