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« "Boom-dog" finds his forever home | Main | Top 5 + 1 from May, 2010 »

June 04, 2010


Carianne Burnley

This is another very tragic story!

I have one question that I am not sure I know the answer to... I am noticing the trend of "the dog has never shown signs" showing up more and more in these stories. Does the law read that if the dog did show signs when it did this type of attack, it would be owner negligence? Could people be saying this to keep themselves out of trouble? Not saying this is the case but oftentimes wonder about it.



I think there are two possible things that drive that:

1) Yes, if someone has a dog they know has acted aggressively, and it kills their child, yes, they could be held criminally negligent and child endangerment. So saying "it's never acted aggressively before" is one way to protect themselves.

2) I think a lot of people don't recognized aggressive behavior or are likely to downplay it when it happens so are unlikely to really recognize it appropriately.


It is rarely, if ever, true that a dog has never given any signs of aggression before. And it is rarely, if ever, true that a dog gives no signs immediately before it attacks. Very very few dogs are psychopaths; almost all are extremely honest, in that they say what they will do.

The problem of course, if just as Brent says: people don't know dog language, or choose to ignore it.


Since the majority of dog attacks seem to be pit bulls, I am wondering if there have been any studies done to possibly find a common link in these attacks. For example, how old were the dogs when this happened? How long did the family have the dog? Had the dog been ill recently? Were they male or female? Etc, etc. Then maybe, just maybe, they could work toward preventing attacks besides doing the obvious by not getting a pit bull in the first place, because in spite of all the reports of attacks by pits, people are still owning them and allowing them around their children.


Interestingly, there are quite a few people who spend a lot of time studying dog attack fatalities -- and the common link has nothing to do with breed or type of dog. The common link is always something to do with an irresponsible owner and/or irresponsible parent. But since you asked, here are the common links:

1) Dog that is chained as its sole or primary form of containment.
2) An unsupervised very young child left alone with a dog (or left alone to roam freely outdoors and finds a dog).
3) Dogs allowed to roam at large --usually in groups
4) Dogs that have previously shown aggression that was either ignored, unnoticed or otherwise uncorrected by the owner.

These causes are universally the same regardless of the breed of dog involved.

The good news is that the VAST majority of dogs, of all breeds, will not be involved in a major bite incident in their lifetimes. Dogs are incredibly safe (regardless of what the media tells us) and general percuations -- particularly with young children and dogs - -is essentially to curbing these incidents further.

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