In India, children and adults abused by sticks will not be given a second look by family members and police alike.
Prince Edward could face RSPCA probe after lashing out at his dogs with stick
29 December 2008
Prince Edward could face an RSPCA investigation after he was accused of setting a ‘sickening example’ for lashing out at two gun dogs with a large wooden stick.
The 44-year-old royal was seen reacting violently when the black labradors appeared to grab hold of a dead pheasant during a shoot at Sandringham.
He rushed at the animals with his shotgun tucked under his arm and a 4ft stick raised in the air. He then brought it down sharply several times towards them.
One of the dogs ran off and was seen cowering as Edward chased after it and took another swing at it.
It has not been established whether the prince actually hit the dogs, but animal welfare charities expressed disgust at the his behaviour.
Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, said: ‘It would appear he has had a royal tantrum.’
He said that to hit a dog would be ‘a pathetic, cowardly and vicious act’, and added: ‘It is an offence to cause an animal unnecessary suffering.’
Barry Hugill, spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, added: ‘He has set a truly sickening example.’
An onlooker at the weekend shoot on the royals’ Norfolk estate said Edward appeared to take around three swipes at the dog.
He added: ‘It happened when Edward was shooting in a field with Peter Phillips. ‘At the end of the drive, the dogs went off to pick up the dead birds – but these two dogs looked like they were squabbling over one pheasant.
They clearly were not doing what they were supposed to do so Edward took it upon himself to impose some royal discipline.
‘It was quite a big stick and it would have hurt the dog if it had been hit with any force.’
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: ‘We will be looking at it. If a formal complaint is made by anyone, we have to decide if there is enough evidence for an investigation.’
He added: ‘It is not illegal to hit a dog. What makes it an offence is if it can be proved that the dog suffered unnecessarily.’
The spokesman said the use of a stick ‘might be justified’ if a dog was at risk and it was necessary to stop it getting into more danger.
But Beverly Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today magazine, said: ‘These images are simply disgraceful – it is an outrage.
‘What sort of message does it send out when the Royal Family are directly involved in this sort of sickening animal cruelty. The Queen is the patron of the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust, yet here is her son behaving in a despicable manner.’
Jill Grieve, of the Countryside Alliance, added: ‘Raising a stick to an animal is never a great idea.
‘Using close control, with a whistle for example, is much more effective than beating a dog with a stick.’
Others, however, offered a more sympathetic explanation for the prince’s actions.
Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, suggested he might have hit the ground with the stick to scare the dogs and separate them.
She said: ‘If the two dogs were fighting, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone whacked the ground nearby to make an impression.
‘If you want to make sure dogs don’t injure each other, you need to break things up as soon as you can before one of them gets injured.
‘If you just run waving your arms, you are not going to have much effect.
‘Dogs would be able to hear the vibration from a stick being hit on the ground and would react.’
Buckingham Palace said Edward waved his stick in an attempt to break up a fight between his animals over a dead pheasant.
A spokesman said: ‘It has not been determined that he did strike the dog.
‘He broke up the fight with the dogs and pictures show him waving his stick around.
‘We cannot confirm, however, whether he struck the dog.’