It’s sad news again today with an 10 year old boy in Wollongong was mauled by 2 dogs when he entered their property today. Such a tragic turn of events and we wish the boy a speedy recovery.
The news has renewed claims however, that there should be a ban on so-called “dangerous” dog breeds. And that is what makes us mad. While we are saddened by the tragedy, we are enraged by the ignorance of both the media and the dog owners in this case. We watched this morning on the Morning Show as a washed up TV presenter (I’m not even going to mention his name for fear of promoting the idiot) proudly said that people shouldn’t be allowed to own “dangerous” breeds. He was quickly admonished by his contrary in the segment who made a point that her “fluffy white dog” was known to act like a “pork-chop” as well.
“The problem is that owners of “dangerous” dog breeds don’t have a proper understanding of their dogs, or get caught up in an overly trusting relationship with their dog…”
Dog attacks are cause by ignorance, that is the fact in all cases, either the victim or the owner or both. The problem is that owners of “dangerous” dog breeds don’t have a proper understanding of their dogs, or get caught up in an overly trusting relationship with their dog, the issue being “my dog isn’t aggressive towards us, therefor it isn’t aggressive towards strangers” this is the biggest mistake that a dog owner can make. Dogs are unpredictable, and even the most loving and cute pomeranian can attack (seemingly) without warning. And mistreated dogs are going to be even less predictable than the average family pet.
Dogs are the product of what we make them. If you are ignorant and don’t understand your dogs temperament or mental state, you may get bitten. However if you have a clearer understanding of your dog and are well educated as to the signs you can prevent issues from ever escalating. And even if you don’t own a dog, your ignorance can be what causes a dog to attack you!
“This information should be taught to our children. It’s obvious that the message isn’t getting to the kids, who are more often the victim of the attacks, and children, like dogs, need parental supervision.”
Our official stance on the issue is that dog owners need greater training. Mandatory training. No matter the breed. And the training should not just cover dog handling but dog psychology and communication. No dog will bite you without showing signs of aggression prior. The bite is simply the last warning. While there are exceptions to every rule, this is generally true of most dogs. This information should be taught to our children. It’s obvious that the message isn’t getting to the kids, who are more often the victim of the attacks, and children, like dogs, need parental supervision. If the parents were more educated they wouldn’t let their kids play with strange dogs, or in the case of the 10 year old today, teach them not to walk into other peoples properties where dogs are present.
In 2010/2011 the Division of Local Government’s Department of Premier and Cabinet released a report showing the statistical instances of reported dog attacks in NSW (source). The use of ‘reported’ is important, because although implied, the report does not show statistics for 100% of dog bite cases, only the reported cases.
Let me give you an example you may understand; If a Chihuahua was to try to attack you or even succeeded in attacking you, would you feel scared or like your life was in danger? Your answer is probably no, or at least “it would depend on the circumstances”. So if a Chihuahua tries to attack you, are you going to report it? Most likely your answer would again be; no. However if a German Shepherd was to try the exact same thing, would your answer change? Mine would.
“Our guess would be that all dogs would show fairly equal percentages for the likelihood to attack someone, in a fair report.”
While the report shows that there are breeds with higher rates of attack, even the Chihuahua wasn’t excluded from the list, showing all dogs large or small are liable to attacks. In fact, the report stated that 75% of attack instances happened when the dog was not under the control of the owner. And another 22% were unknown of the owner was in control. This shows that in all but 3% of cases, the owners were not acting responsibly, and in the remaining 3% were possibly the incidences of aggressive dogs that may be considered ‘dangerous’, or at least evaluated as to the suitability for the owners of those dogs.
“Large dog attacks are more likely to be reported, which will cause the report to reflect that conclusion.”
You can’t say that all dogs aren’t dangerous, that’s like saying all people aren’t murderers, sad truth is, some of them are. I wonder how a report of 100% of ALL cases, report or not, would affect the outcome of that report. Our guess would be that all dogs would show fairly equal percentages for the likelihood to attack someone, in a fair report. Unfortunately these kinds of reports is what law makers use to make decisions. We don’t believe it is a statement of fact, only a collection of examples that aren’t weighted correctly. Large dog attacks are more likely to be reported, which will cause the report to reflect that conclusion.
“If you want to ban certain dog breeds to prevent attacks, you also need to jail the parents of children who grow up to become rapists and murderers.”
Why we get so mad about the call to ban any breeds is because it isn’t always the dogs fault, however they are always portrayed as 100% cause of the problem. We as humans (apparently higher forms of life) don’t take into consideration how a dog thinks, communicates and acts. Every situation we have ever seen with dangerous dogs have had warnings given by the dog in the first place. If you ignore the warnings you’re in trouble. Dogs are a predator species after all. If you want to ban certain dog breeds to prevent attacks, you also need to jail the parents of children who grow up to become rapists and murderers. After all the child is a product of their upbringing, right? If they turn out to be a rapist or a murderer it may have been because of their parents?!?! Who knows!?! Or, if you want to prevent murders and rapes in the future ban the parents from ever having children again. To us, banning breeds is as stupid as that example.
“…and when the blame can be shifted to an animal that has no voice, that’s where the blame goes, and it’s just ridiculous and shows peoples ignorance and stupidity”
Another point I would make is more people die in car crashes every year. However there are no bans on cars. People are educated as to the danger of driving and the correct operation of a motor vehicle, to help make them safer. But anyone can get any dog they like. With no vetting as to the suitability of the dog to the owner. The truth is people will always want to shift blame to someone else, which is why we have car insurance, and when the blame can be shifted to an animal that has no voice, that’s where the blame goes, and it’s just ridiculous and shows peoples ignorance and stupidity.
Owning a dog is a RESPONSIBILITY! Not only to the community, but the dog itself. If you are an ignorant dog owner who doesn’t understand, expect to have your dogs seized in the future. And for us responsible dog owners, we have to face persecution because of your stupidity.
If you raise a dog to be aggressive you will get aggression, and even if you don’t it doesn’t mean that your dog is incapable of showing aggression. However if you are a responsible dog owner you can have a Staffy, or German Shepherd, or Rottweiler be confident that your greater understanding of the breed, and it’s specific needs will you help prevent attacks in the future.
I think people try to equate it to something like gun control. If you ban the guns, you stop the murders, if you ban the dogs, you stop the attacks, but you don’t blame the gun for an injury (or worse), you blame the holder of the gun.
Dogs are so special, unique, mistreated and misunderstood, if you take the time to truly understand them, all the ignorance slips away and you gain a new perspective on our relationship with these amazing animals. We should celebrate them as our ancestors did and not treat them like something you can flush down the toilet. Rant over.