John Gibson: Staffies are just softies deep down

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This will make therapeutic reading for my friend Kay Hamilton, unshakeable champion of the Staffordshire bull terrier. A dog given a bad name and it sticks.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is campaigning to change the public’s perception of the Staffie and the London venue has come up with a slogan that, they hope, will help endear folk to a dog that seemingly can’t stay out of trouble: “They’re Softer Than You Think.”

A spokesperson down there is barking: “Staffies are wonderful dogs and, like any dog, when well trained and socialised and given love and attention, can make wonderful family pets.”

There is, too, a campaign to have Staffies labelled officially as a dangerous dog. Battersea, an admirable charity, took in 6000 dogs last year and of those 37 per cent were Staffies.

Maybe not so therapeutic after all for Kay, the East Lothian-based Duchess of Hamilton.

Horrific attack

Even as I write . . . I’m told that a toddler playing in Swindon has been mauled. Horrific facial injuries and an ear bitten off. The culprit – a Staffordshire bull terrier.

The two-year-old was placed in an induced coma and was “stable”.

The dog’s owner handed it over to be destroyed.