Not what you see

What you see on television is not always correct yet many viewers take what they see as a stamp of approval and children are born copiers.

I am sometimes concerned by films, programmes or commercials which are misleading with animals: dogs hanging out of open car windows, waiting to jump after a passing cat or rival dog; no screen between driver and dog in the back; and, in the past few days, a driver opening the hatchback door and letting the dog leap out without a command after checking the situation was safe. There was even a dog running after a car, presumably for exercise. How many times do you see a dog jumping up, a dog on a bed for humans or in an armchair? So often the viewer will observe a pet licking the face of a child which is not only unhealthy but dangerous. The child can encourage the pet to act in this manner and the pet can bite or scratch. The pet gets the blame and is labelled dangerous where in fact he is warding off what he perceives as an attack.

At one time the UK's Independent Television Authority, ITA (which monitored the activity of the commercial television companies), used to have watchdogs to report and require the offending company to correct the infringement. As an executive of one of the largest companies, I recall being hauled over the coals when a programme under my control made an error. I wish such vigilance applied today.

If you have children and animals together make sure they get your guidance in such matters. Remember small children and animals should never be left without the supervision of a responsible adult. Not even for a minute or so.