My Photo

Categories

follow us in feedly

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Best Of KC Dog Blog

Become a Fan

« Academic paper on behavioral challenges when dogs removed from litters too young | Main | Philadelphia area woman killed by own dogs »

August 31, 2011

Comments

H. Houlahan

I submit that newborns are victims of fatal attacks *regardless* of whether the dogs are socialized with children, because

(a) The dogs don't recognize the infants as human, and act in a predatory manner; and

(b)They break easily, even when the dog is "gentle" and has no predatory intent.

Don't leave tiny babies alone with dogs. BY DEFINITION the dog cannot be familiar with the baby, or have experience with appropriate ways of interacting with such a fragile little human.

H. Houlahan

I should have put the word "attacks" in scare quotes in the previous comment.

Laurie Daily-Johnston

The media must learn that more important than citing the breeds of dogs involved (which they are usually wrong anyway) it noting the dog(s) sexual status. If people could be made to understand that spaying and neutering is the BEST way to protect themselves, their families, and their communities; I think we would see people less terrified of "pit bulls" and more likely to take action to have their pets spayed and neutered. Politicians would also be more likely to help find the funds for low cost/free spay and neuter--sure they would come up with an appropriate campaign slogan!

Brent

H - you're absolutely right. Although I do think that dogs can be safely socialized early and often with infants it is true that one should never leave an infant alone with the dog (we don't know for sure that the infant was alone in this case, but they usually are in these cases.

Laurie, I think it's a good question to ask, but I'm not convinced that s/n is usually a causal factor in serious dog bites, although sometimes it is.

H. Houlahan

Sterilization, or lack of it, is not causal.

It is a lazy person's shibboleth for something else.

Ovaries don't bite babies.

Paula G From Indiana

Heather is right on. I don't like to see spay/neuter as the be-all and end-all of making a dog perfect. People must not believe that just because they neutered a dog it will never have a behavioral problem or need any socialization/training. Stupid, as in leaving a newborn alone with dogs, still amazes me.

Brent

H -- I mostly agree, but not in all cases. There have been multiple incidents of mother dogs attacking in protection of their newborns -- and one very popular case where a child was attacked trying to stop two dogs from mating - -certainly these situations could have been avoided if the dogs had been sterilized. I will also concede that there is at least some indication that cutting of the testosterone source in male dogs may have an impact.


That said, I agree that it is not usually a causal factor -- and that the correlation between aggression and unaltered dogs likely has more to do with low income/poorly educated people being less likely to alter their dogs and more likely to have their dogs kept in negative circumstances. Not always of course, but it doesn't take very many cases to make a trend when there are only 25 or so fatalities a year.

I have an interesting study on intact status and aggression that I was planning to write about anyway, so I'll get something posted about that study next week sometime.

arrowhead

'There have been multiple incidents of mother dogs attacking in protection of their newborns -- and one very popular case where a child was attacked trying to stop two dogs from mating - -certainly these situations could have been avoided if the dogs had been sterilized. I will also concede that there is at least some indication that cutting of the testosterone source in male dogs may have an impact.'

assuming that the dogs in the first two situations you mentioned aren't feral, i'd say it's more of a responsible management issue (i.e. human problem) than an unsterilized dog problem.

to be quite frank, i find the 'spay and neuter cure-all' mindset that has taken over all pet welfare issues to be disgusting. maybe it's just burnout from 30+ years of hearing s/n being touted as the solution to *EVERY* behavioral or emotional problem a dog could possible have? i dunno. but here's a news flash: a dog's overall behavior is FAR more dependent upon how they are treated (stable home, affection, training) and their own quirky personality than by reproductive status.

now, to be sure, there are extra management issues and responsibilities to take into account if you choose to keep an unaltered dog. and there are unquestionably a few behavioral differences in both unaltered males and females. i wouldn't let a stranger (especially a kid!) near a female who'd just whelped, no matter how nice she was and how well i know her. it's rude to her, and dangerous for the stranger. and while mileage varies, i'd say that on average, unaltered males sniff and mark a lot more often, and seem to display more dominance in play. but it's not like they're the violently sex-crazed psychopaths some people portray them as.

arrowhead

oh christ. sorry about the ot rant, the sexual status comment just irked me.

though it's probably more pleasant arguing about that than a dog eating a baby. thanks for the updates on these stories, brent.

kmk

Hey, arrowhead, go ahead and rant - I agree with you on the intact vs. altered dog crap. This is exactly what we say about "pit bulls" - it's the owners. The same goes for intact animals - it's about the owners and how the animals are managed.

Everyone in my generation grew up with intact male dogs. It's amazing any of us lived to tell about the experience.

Barbara Saunders

Arrowhead and kmk, I agree. Lately I've been thinking it's odd that we have normalized altered animals and are hysterically fearful of dogs and cats in their natural state. (I imagine we might have less crime if we neutered people, too, but that would be ridiculous.)

Jennie

I just read an updated article that stated Animal Control reported the breeds of dogs were as follows: pit bull, bulldog, Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd and German Shepherd-Bulldog Mix.

Perhaps the neighbor is a bit confused as to what a Rottie looks like?

I just thought this is a good example of neighbors not being a reliable source in breed identification.

No one was with the infant at the time of the "attack". The 18 year old mother and the grandfather were home. The 21 year old father of the child was in jail. The baby was found face down in the kitchen and appeared to be struggling to breath. That poor little baby.

kmk

Well, Jennie and Barbara Saunders, if that isn't an argument for altering PEOPLE, I don't know what is!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)