When the bite is worse than the bark

Discussion in 'Dog News and Articles' started by DryCreek, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. DryCreek

    DryCreek New Member

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    When the bite is worse than the bark: Cities should have zero-tolerance policies on aggressive dogs

    Tribune Opinion
    January 29, 2008

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    Two dog attacks in recent weeks -- one in Greeley and another in Eaton -- have caught our attention and raised the question of whether bans on specific breeds of dogs should be pursued by city officials in Weld County.

    The first occurred on the Poudre Trail in Greeley, when three pit bulls that previously had been in trouble for chasing joggers attacked a woman's two dogs as she walked them. One dog sustained serious injuries, while the other got away with minor injuries.

    A second attack came a week later, when an Eaton police officer, called to control a wandering pit bull that had reportedly also had prior issues, shot the dog as it charged him after the officer slipped and fell on the ice.

    It's a struggle to take the stand we do: We don't think Greeley or other towns in Weld County should ban certain breeds because of a few "bad apples." Just as we would not condemn an entire profession for a few bad acts by its workers, we don't think attacks by a few bad dogs should condemn an entire breed.

    But we temper that. We do think dog owners should be held accountable for their dog's actions, and we think there should be a "zero-tolerance" policy among cities. First strike and they're out.

    Dogs that have attacked once shouldn't be allowed to attack again, and owners of such dogs should face a penalty stiff enough to deter them from ownership in the future.

    Again, we come to this conclusion not because we want to ban any specific breed of animal, and we recognize that any dog can bite under the right circumstances, such as being taunted, being scared or angry, or simply being surprised.

    But dog owners need to pay heed to their dogs' issues. If the dog has a habit of chasing people or other dogs, keep the dog behind a fence.

    If the dog has a habit of trying to bite people who come into the yard, make sure the dog is put in a safe place before anyone comes on the property. Post warning signs about a dangerous dog.

    No dog should be allowed to run free in a neighborhood, or in a park not designated as a dog park, or even to roam a person's yard without restraints. It's just common sense.

    No one begrudges residents who like the added protection of a dog, especially in today's world when property crime can touch any of us. A good, scary bark usually works wonders in keeping away those pesky burglars.

    But that doesn't take away an owner's responsibility in case of an attack. Dogs that do attack should be euthanize to avoid the occurrence in the future, and their owners should be held accountable with stiff fines and penalties.
     
  2. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    hmm thats just as scary in some ways as BSL
     
  3. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    I agree. That article is extremely scary.
     
  4. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    i wonder how they define "attack". when the loose dog ran out of its yard and started a fight with my leashed dog where there were minor injuries on both sides, is that an "attack"? would it have been had the breeds been reversed (the other dog was a sheepdog, my dog is a pit bull)?

    what if the dog "bites" but only gets clothes and no blood is drawn and no injury occurs? i see those reported enough in the news. is that an "attack"?

    how about if my dog kills a loose cat in my yard? "attack", even though the dog was properly contained and the cat wasn't?

    yeah, no thanks. i'm all for legislation for dealing with dangerous dogs, but one strike and you're dead?? no.
     
  5. Miakoda

    Miakoda New Member

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    I personally agree. I don't believe that dogs who escape their yards and bite people should be given a second chance. Because we all know that they will use their second chance and just how many people have to be bitten before the dogs get euthanized?

    And I agree about not allowing dogs off-leash to roam.

    And I'm all for an owner being held accountable for their dog's actions. If you're dog fatally injures someone, you go to jail for manslaughter. Period.

    ALL of these situations are 100% preventable. Yes accidents happen, but that doesn't mean that consequences shouldn't follow.
     
  6. Miakoda

    Miakoda New Member

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    Hmmm. If someone's loose dog puts it's mouth on me with the intent to do harm, I don't give a rat's behind if it actually leaves punctures or just a bruise with some teeth indentation. I want that dog AND the owner to be accountable.
     
  7. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    if nothing happens what are they accountable for?
     
  8. Miakoda

    Miakoda New Member

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    Like a dog that gets caught running loose but doesn't pose any other problem?

    Then they are accountable for allowing their dog to be a nuisance. And for breaking the law.

    (Maybe I'm not talking about the same things here, so help me out if I'm off base.)
     
  9. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    No if a dog 'bites' you but there are only small marks? Or what if a dog goes to bite you 'air snaps' Many people would call that aggressive.

    This doesn't account for any human responsiblilty (except the owner) If you are teasing a dog through a fence and get bit, that is a different thing that a dog walking past you on leash and biting you. What if someone makes a really fast aggressive move at you and your dog?

    This 'zero' policy is pretty scary IMO.

    Ok what about this incident (this happened to me) I was out in my yard with my dog, a Dalmation. She was perimeter trained (now that I know more about dogs I wouldn't have let her be out there with me) I was doing some gardening stuff for my mom when all of a sudden I here Bali alert bark. There is a person with a little white dog on a flexi lead, the little white dog is now in the middle of our front yard peeing on one of our trees. Bali rushed over and grabbed the little dog by a front let. The woman starts screaming and yanks her dog back. Bali is dragged too, now my dog is holding onto her dog on the sidewalk. I get over there a second later tell Bali to stop, and she does. We did pay the bill for the little dog to go to the vet. But really the bite happened on my yard, and the damage was caused by dragging her dog with my dog holding it. (there was no punctures but an injury)
     
  10. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    No.

    It's a step up from BSL and I'd rather see laws promoting responsible dog ownership than banning breeds that idiots shouldn't own.

    But really... One incident and the dog is DEAD? Just.. no. How about one incident and the dog must be neutered, muzzled in public and killed only if an attack happens a second time?

    I'm really torn on this. For one, it'll force people to take responsibility for their dogs. But their dogs will also be to blame if a HUMAN provokes them into biting, by harrassing their owner, teasing them through a fence, entering their house uninvited, etc... I can't see the law working in the dog's favor if the dog attacks with a good reason.
     
  11. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    I totally, completely agree with Dekka & Grace.

    Like Dekka said, the actions of the people being "attacked" (which is a very subjective word) should be taken into account, as well as the severity of the attack. If a dog chases down a random person and causes serious harm to them, for no apparent reason, I would probably feel safer if such a dog were euthanized.

    But if a dog in his yard was being chased by a neighbor with a shovel, and nipped him on the calf out of fear/defense, just enough to leave a bruise, well... I think the person chasing the dog should be punished. But, of course not. A dog being hit with a shovel should never attempt to act to protect himself, that is absolutely preposterous! :rolleyes:
     
  12. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    the page i'm on is, what if you and your dog are *not* breaking the law? i'm not talking about dogs who are roaming loose (imo, they need to hold those owners accountable BEFORE the dogs attack somebody).

    maybe i've got a persecution complex. and an overactive imagination.
     
  13. Lilavati

    Lilavati Arbitrary and Capricious

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    Well, I don't think he's saying that loose dogs have to be destroyed. Just that "my dog got loose" is not an excuse if he/she hurts someone.

    That aside, I'm torn on this. Air bites and noninjury bites are often self defense from dogs. And often the act of a dog that is NOT vicious, that's why it didn't hurt you.

    On the other hand, laws have to be written so that people who do not know dogs can enforce them. They have to be written so that they can be enforced effeciently and cheaply. IMO there should be a behaviorist on staff with every Animal Control . . . I also realize that AC is often flat broke as it is.

    Here's the problem. I know that an air bite or a non injury bite is often the act of a non dangerous dog acting in defense. But it can also be the act of a dangerous dog who, bluntly, missed. I trust myself to be able to half way tell the difference. I trust a behaviorist to be able to. But I realize that most people can't . . . ESPECIALLY if they didn't see it happen.

    On the other hand, I also realize that a dog can be exremely dangerous without biting, and the first bite can kill someone. I've seen dogs break out of their yards and charge, snarling, after people, ears forward, lips forward, with pretty obviously violent intent. How do you handle those? The only reason no one was hurt was because they got over a fence, into a car, or into a house before the dog got them.

    Its going to be very hard to write a law that handles the complexities of dog behavior that can be enforced by people who don't know dogs and didn't themself see what happened.

    Perhaps we need a one bite law with an appeal . . .if there were extenuating circumstances, you can appeal, call witnesses, call in a behaviorist . . . or perhaps plea bargain for a muzzle and increased restraints.

    But what I do agree with is that irresponsible owners, with dogs that are not properly contained, that are improperly socialized and often slightly nutty from poor breeding, are the real cause of BSL (that and the dog fighters). These people are making life miserable for other dog owners, not to mention the victims of their dogs. They should be punished. But moreover, we do need SOME way to try and prevent these things before they happen . . and it has to be some way that can be easily enforced.
     
  14. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    I'm astonished you paid for the vet bill.... that was kind of you. There's no way in hell I would have paid it. She was the one that injured her dog.. not you, and not your dog.
     
  15. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    It was to prevent them from going through animal control. It would be hard to prove that the damage was due to her hauling her dog with mine attached. And there was the fact that at the end, there was Bali hanging on to her dog with her teeth on public property.

    I find AC people don't care WHY your dog did something, just that they did it.
     
  16. chanda

    chanda New Member

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    i agree with RD... Pet owners should be responsible for their pets....
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
  17. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    I don't dissagree at all.

    But I do think the circumstance should be taken into account. Why are dogs supposed to have more self control and lack of self preservation than humans?

    I think ALL humans should be responsible for their own actions, as well as responsible for their dogs.

    If some person sticks their hand through a fence and whacks a strange dog on the nose, and it nips them... I really think it is unfair to blame the owner of the dog. Common sense people, its called common sense.
     
  18. Beagleluver5463

    Beagleluver5463 New Member

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    I'm with Dekka.
     
  19. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Exactly.

    Unfortunately, the kind of idiot that will provoke a dog like that is also the kind of idiot that will cry to the police if the dog reacts. So I think if you're holding dog owners accountable for their dog's actions, you should also hold other people accountable for not deliberately provoking (or allowing their dog to provoke) a dog that is under the control of its owner.
     
  20. jess2416

    jess2416 Who woulda thought

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    Here it is against the law to tease, torment or bait a dog not belonging to yourself... its considered cruelty and its under our cruelty to animals laws
     

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