Abby Sciuto: "Dogs don't kill people, McGee! *People* kill people!"
Special Agent Timothy McGee: "People with dogs that kill people, kill people!"
The sentiment is true. The majority of attacks take place because of uninformed dog owners. Whether you own a two pound chihuahua or a hundred and fifty pound cane corso, you need to know what makes up your dogs inherent DNA and what your pet may be capable of.
As a Responsible Pet Owner educator, it pains me to see people who have dogs that they have no business owning.
This past week upon hearing a ruckus, I rushed outside to find my husband and two grown women attempting to remove a Pit Bull from our yard. The dog was charging the fence where our five golden retrievers were playing. The dog was going for blood and could not be contained. My husbands arm dripped blood and afraid it was his own, I yelled, "Did that dog bite you?" It had not. The dog had been so intent and determined to get to The Love Shack Pack it never even noticed the cuts it had endured while fighting against the fence. Had my goldens not been within the confines of our fenced yard, I fear we would have lost one or more of them.
It frightens me for times that my children are outside playing and for the times we are outside the fence with our own dogs. And it isn't entirely because the dog is a Pit Bull...
In our area most (but certainly not all) Pit Bull owners are all about the image that the dog represents - tough and fearless. And it is those owners that give the breed a bad name.
There were three obvious mistakes that this dogs owner demonstrated while this dog tried to viciously force its way into our enclosed space:
1. The dog was loose, and this was not the first time this very incident has happened.
2. The dog did not have a collar on making it extremely difficult to get a hold on the animal.
3. When the dog did not submit, the owner picked up the first available item (a pvc pipe) and began "whipping" the animal.
It was at the third point that I intervened.
It is never the appropriate response to hit an animal.
In case you didn't catch that, let me re-emphasize, IT IS NEVER THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE TO HIT AN ANIMAL.
And especially not in a situation like this. This will be one of the dogs that is likely to turn on its owner (or their children) at some point. This same dog who at the current time serves as a pillow for the family's children. This same dog who is the most beloved pet ever. This same dog who would never ever hurt them. Will it be the dog's fault when it happens? No. The dog did not choose its gene pool nor the humans that would raise it. Rather the people who own and "love" this animal will be the ones who made it who it's become. Unfortunately, they are most likely the ones who will ultimately pay the highest price.
As I gently informed the owners of my position, it was obvious that they turned a deaf ear. I offered my services as a trainer to help with the dog. My help was not accepted. These folks are uninformed about the breed they have chosen, and society (and the breed) pays for their ignorance.
Please do not misinterpret my zeal for a dislike of Pit Bulls!! It is not the dog that I have anything against... it is the person who has invited the dog into their home not knowing their potential. Every dog was bred for a specific purpose (something we'll touch on in tomorrow's Sunday sermon), and each dog owner needs to be aware of what that purpose is. Unfortunately Pits were originally bred to be bait dogs for bears and bulls. (Pit Bulls on the Web is a good resource for more information on the breed.) I know many owners of this breed who love and adore them the same as I do my Goldens. Their appreciation for the dogs sincere sense of loyalty cannot be matched. But these are the people who are knowledgeable of the breed - they know full well what the dog is capable of and not to take it for granted. A dog with a good disposition is not an accident of nature but rather the product of nurture.
I'm sure I've given you plenty to chew on today, but I invite you back throughout this next week as I share more about being a responsible owner and bite prevention. I know our posts are usually fun and upbeat, but this is a subject that needs to be taken quite seriously. We'll dedicate this next week to better informing us all!
- and sometimes - like today - the mom person, Samantha