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dog behaviour order: an official document issued by a British court instructing the owner of a dangerous dog to control the dog's behaviour
'Ministers are also considering introducing new dog control notices for misbehaving animals. The 'Dogbo' orders would allow police officers and council officials to force miscreant owners to muzzle, leash or even neuter their pets.'The Irish Times 9th March 2010
Tragic cases of dangerous dogs seriously injuring young children, sometimes fatally, have been an increasingly frequent feature of news reports in recent years. In an effort to prevent such tragedies and clamp down on gratuitous ownership of vicious dogs, the UK government have recently introduced the Dogbo.
the Dogbo targets particular breeds of dogs such as the Bull Mastiff and Rottweiler, which in the wrong hands can be trained to be extremely aggressive
Part of changes to the UK government's Dangerous Dogs Act, a Dogbo is an official order also referred to as a 'Dog Control Notice' and would allow police and local officials to insist that owners muzzle or leash their dog if it is considered to be particularly dangerous. In extreme cases, a dog could be confiscated and given a new home. The Dogbo is therefore the canine equivalent of an Asbo, or anti-social behaviour order, a civil order introduced in 1998 aimed at people who cause disturbance to others through violence, drunkenness, vandalism, etc. The Dogbo targets particular breeds of dogs such as the Bull Mastiff and Rottweiler, which in the wrong hands can be trained to be extremely aggressive, but are often used as forms of protection in areas where crime is a problem.
Dogbo is a new blend formed from a combination of dog and Asbo. Though the concept it represents has very unpleasant overtones, linguistically it is quite interesting: it is an unusual example of blending a full noun with an acronym. This seems to work because the part of the acronym contained in the blend is meaningful in itself, i.e. -bo = behaviour order. Interestingly, Dogbo often appears in fully capitalized form, i.e.: DOGBO, even though the letters 'D', 'O' and 'G' shouldn't be interpreted as standing for anything. This has of course happened because of its necessary association with Asbo, which started life as a fully capitalized acronym ASBO.
Dogbo is an interesting development in the productive life of the acronym Asbo, which has two earlier spin-offs. Amid growing concern about pre-teenage crime and anti-social behaviour, in October 2005 the UK government revealed plans to introduce the Basbo (baby Asbo), a lighter punishment than a full Asbo aimed at children under 10. More recently, the term CRASBO emerged (criminal anti-social behaviour order), which refers to an Asbo given to an individual already convicted of criminal behaviour. Linguistically speaking however, Dogbo differs from these two expressions because it does not subsume the original acronym Asbo, only part of it. It's almost, therefore, as if the form -bo has begun to take on some kind of productive meaning connected with official rulings on unpleasant behaviour, and it'll be interesting to see if other kinds of ***bo emerge in the future.
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This article was first published on 1st June 2010.
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