Owners are responsible for dogs' behaviour

From: Barbara Sykes, Member of the Institute of Professional Dog Trainers, Spring Lane, Bingley.

THE recent attacks on children by dogs have been horrific and the behaviour of the dogs and their owners is inexcusable,

but we cannot start a lynch party for certain breeds of dogs when it is clearly the owners of these dogs who are in the wrong.

The law should be targeting how to control the owners more than the dogs. It is far too easy for someone to buy a dog – they don't have to have any prior knowledge of how to care for it – and there is no law to say they should have public liability insurance.

If there were tighter restrictions on breeding, we would cut down on the ease of purchase of these dogs and the breeders who are selling them indiscriminately.

Many young dogs are encouraged to "tug" at a toy, a sleeve or a lead, they are allowed to chew toys and the destruction of slippers or furniture is accepted as part of "growing up". All these things are encouraging a dog to use its teeth when we should be discouraging this behaviour.

Children need parenting

and they will grow up undisciplined if they are not given boundaries. Dogs need a similar kind of parenting from their owners, but many of them are allowed to behave in such a

way that we would be

mortified if our children were as unruly

My children grew up with dogs and my son has a toddler and a Rottweiler, but they are both parented and neither are left unattended. Why should such a family have to have their dog muzzled because someone else has been grossly negligent with their dog?

I believe that to knowingly own a dog that is aggressive, and a potential danger, is a crime unless that dog is kept under strict control.

Air ambulance appeal is a fitting tribute

From: Liz Dodson, Brampton Road, Wath-upon-Dearne, Rotherham.

WHAT a fitting tribute, and demonstration of affection and support – the setting up of a fund-raising website, to help keep the Yorkshire Air Ambulance flying!

This wonderful organisation

saves many lives that would

otherwise be lost through taking too long to get to hospital. But it is costly to run.

The website idea beats the modern, mawkish trend of laying carpets of flowers in tribute and support. The flowers are beautiful, but they are expensive, they die and they don't actually do anything useful.

So, well done Alex Goss for setting up the website, and well done to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance for helping to

save Top Gear presenter Richard

Hammond's life.

Christianity's enduring message

From: Peter Murray, Chapel Haddlesey, Selby.

DAVID Levett dismisses Archbishop Sentamu's views as to what we need in our society for morals (Yorkshire Post, September 21). He is wrong in doing so as a society based on just materialism, as he suggests, would not be the answer to the less well off and disadvantaged of our world.

Mr Levett has not understood the Christian message that brings hope far beyond what material things can offer. Christianity is certainly not alien to the world and to the wellbeing of humanity, but Christian values go deeper and are much more demanding than just those held by a secular outlook. This is because Christians, through Jesus Christ, have a relationship with God that enables them to have a better grasp as to the meaning and purpose of life. Christians and the Christian Church are certainly not perfect, they often get it wrong, but they follow the one who is perfect; the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every age is faced with the challenge of maintaining the Christian moral values which have shaped our society over the centuries.

In a time of affluence, such as in the UK at present, it is all too easy to reject the radical demands of the Christian faith and embrace a simple secular world view. When God is all you have got, then you realise that God is all you need. Archbishop Sentamu suffered under the brutal regime of Amin in Uganda, so he speaks from experience on Christian values in a life-threatening situation.

Iraq will lead to hung vote

From: George Appleby, Clifton, York.

JUDGING by the reaction of

the Question Time audience on Thursday to Jack Straw's vain attempt to defend the Government's position on Iraq, I cannot see how any party will be strong enough to win the next General Election outright.

Kenneth Clarke, the former Tory Chancellor, said: "If an election were held today, there would be a hung parliament." Things will change in three years.

Most agreed, by their applause, that Tony Blair

was the worst PM in living memory. Gordon Brown,

Jack Straw and the whole Cabinet were blamed for the disastrous situation that

we find ourselves in through their misguided foreign policy, and there were calls for immediate resignations in shame.

Iraq was described as

being worse than Suez and the way in which we were "sold" the war still rankles very badly, from an audience which is structured to give a fair cross section.

Hindsight is far easier than acting at the time, but many

of the reasons for our involvement with President George W Bush have since proved to be false.

During the last war we had a National Government to present an united front against the enemy. Maybe another could develop from a hung

parliament to face our present difficulties.

Slaughter not Haig's fault

From: Len Fincham, Warrels Road, Bramley, Leeds.

MUCH has been written lately about Douglas Haig, and these letters are mainly from people who weren't born in the era of the First World War and have not smelled the gut-wrenching fear in battle (Yorkshire Post, September 28). I have, being born just after the First World War and brought up to understand what it was all about.

Modern technology in 1914 developed mass murder by way of the machine gun, the self-loading rifle and the breech-loading heavy guns.

The result was a blanket of death from both sides daily spewed across the battlefield. No longer could soldiers stand side by side facing the onslaught, so they dug in. Trench warfare on both sides came into being, and then stalemate.

Haig was like all commanders, German included, who were caught in this new development.

They were unable at that time to move their armies either forward or back, they had to stand and take it.

Haig, a cavalry man, did a fine job in the circumstances, and all honour must go to the men who, under these new circumstances, stood and took it.

This period is remembered as the first great atrocity in the history of mankind. We did not learn. For an even greater atrocity followed in 1939.

Relief at Blair departure

From: Tony Bryer, Woodbeck Rise, Retford.

SO Tony Blair thinks "it has been hard to let go"

(Yorkshire Post, September 27) but not as hard as it has been for the nation over the last few years while this discredited leader has grimly held on to power.

Don't be fooled by the ovation received at the party conference, they were cheering (with relief) at the announcement that he was leaving, not the man himself whose few achievements in office will forever be overshadowed by the legacy he leaves behind.

Bias behind reporting of Labour Party conference

From: JA Smith, Whitby, North Yorkshire.

I OCCASIONALLY buy a Yorkshire Post as generally it reflects well the county that it represents. However, what does put me off is the political bias which is pro-Tory and therefore often fails to take a balanced objective view.

For example, the Comment section (Yorkshire Post, September 25) criticised Gordon Brown, ahead of his conference speech, for a number of issues with very little mention of what he had achieved while Chancellor.

The day after what turned out to be not a bad speech – even your Political Editor Simon McGee called it a "surprisingly solid performance" – the Comment section's opening words were: "Anyone looking for a glimpse of a new Britain

from the man who would be the next Prime Minister will have found Gordon Brown's performance yesterday disappointing."

Continuing on the same theme, I guess, to show Gordon Brown in the worst possible light, presumably because if he does become PM then he could win for a fourth Labour term, we have the ever-cynical Tom Richmond (Yorkshire Post, September 26) actually praising Alan Johnson as a possible successor to Tony Blair, as he probably has less of a chance

of doing well in the next election.

I do not write this as an

ardent Labour supporter. In fact, I will vote for which group shows the most promise, as well as the type of person who the local MP is.


In defence of Jamie Oliver

From: Jenny Jones, Adel, Leeds.

WHERE has John Dean (Yorkshire Post, September 25) been for the last few years?

So what if Jamie Oliver addresses the Prime Minister by his Christian name?

I'm sure that, whatever his political leanings, Jamie

Oliver must be held in high regard by the PM for the sterling work he has done in single-handedly leading a campaign – with a good measure of success – to get a nation of junk-food addicts to revise the way they feed their children, starting with local authorities providing healthier, and more nutritious, school dinners.

Jamie Oliver is not a

youth, but a man in his

30s, married with two daughters.

Wake up to fact we are at war

From: David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Acomb, York.

YOUR newspaper had two amazingly blas contributions from Dr Mohammed Iqbal and Andrew Collier (Yorkshire Post, September 26) about the

Islam versus the West conflict. In my view, there exists a state of war between these two – we are fighting World War Three.

When are we all going to see this and accept it? Why the refusal to acknowledge the obvious? Why is it that so few people have the Churchill or Enoch perception – and vision? The truth hurts, but being blind will, long term, be ever so more painful.

Dead end road

From: Rosemary Rayner, Main Street, East Ayton, Scarborough,

REGARDING Alec Denton's letter "Age key to road deaths" (Yorkshire Post, September 28), I agree partially with his statement, but would like to point out that no amount of talk or legislation will deter or prevent the uninsured, un-licensed, un-taxed, selfish idiots from taking to the road.

These youths, many younger than 17 years, have probably no intention of taking driving lessons, much less taking a driving test.

Citizen's advice

From: Mrs J Evans, Norton, Malton.

SCHOOLS are criticised (Yorkshire Post, September 28) for citizenship teaching. What is citizenship? Is it poking meddlesome fingers into situations which were going along well?