Saturday, June 01, 2013

My Thoughts Regarding: ‘I’ve never seen a dog do that much damage’: Neighbor shares harrowing details of dog attack on Bibb County woman

"The black dog scaled an 8 to 10 feet fence with ease and started charging at the deputy... “I was in great fear for my life, at which time I shot at the dog,” Mock said in his report. The dog ran off back into the trailer park, leaving bloody paw prints on the road and a driveway. Fearing others were in jeopardy, Mock drove his patrol car around to near Lot-13, where the dogs stayed in a small pen that backs up to McNicholas’ property. On Thursday, boards were stacked on top and along the bottom edges of the fence and appeared to block prior escape routes."

Here are my thoughts...

Dogs are animals. They do what dogs do, do what animals do. They guard territory. You can't breed that out of a dog. All dogs guard territory because their wild ancestors, the wolf, guard territory. It is part of being a dog. Can a dog read a law book? Read a sign? Can a dog know right from wrong like a human? No. So, the responsibility is ours and ours alone to prevent these kinds of things. And in fact, in many cases like this, if you were properly introduced to the attacking dogs, the dogs would most likely be friendly and totally safe. It all depends upon how you house, socialize, contain, supervise, and train your dogs of any breed or type.

Speaking of types of dogs, pit bulls are a type of dog, not a breed. They are often a mix of many dog breeds, and therefore vary a great deal in their general behavioral patterns. Let's put it another way... If a person is half Italian and half English, and the person beats their wife... is it the Italian part of them or the English part of them that is at fault? Or do only half Italian, half English men beat their wives? You could have this kind of attack with lots of dog breeds, if they were set up to escape in groups. People who want to ban pit bulls are saying, whether they know it or not, they want to ban mixed breed dogs. There are lots of breeds that I could mix to create a guard dog that would bite people, never using any type of bull breed at all in the mix, which if they escaped would do this same exact thing. It wouldn't be that hard to cross a Chihuahua with some giant breed and create a dog that would do this same exact kind of damage. If I could ban some people from ever owning a dog, I would. I see abused dogs all the time, for example, from my rescue friends, of all breeds. I wish there was a way to keep dogs out of the hands of some people. There's just no fair and legal way of doing that which also is congruent with the principles of living in a free society according to the Constitution. So, it comes down to personal responsibility, and laws that enforce personal responsibility, and laws that spell out exactly when a dog is or is not allowed to bite. Otherwise, we'll end up banning dog ownership altogether, or it will only be for the rich and famous, the well connected, the police, military and influential politicians.

I have said over and over again, that what people don't value, they don't take care of as much. When people get a dog for free, or for a couple hundred bucks, they tend to not take as much care to train the dogs as if they spent $2,000 for the dog. Lots of pit bulls fall into this category. There are always more pure bred dogs in dog training classes than mixed bred dogs. And there are relatively few people who live in low income areas that train their dogs at all. In some low income communities, the dogs are allowed to run the streets in packs. In this article, does the fencing used sound like a well made, well kept fence or a piece of junk? It sounds like a piece of junk to me. And I don't see anywhere in the article that the owner was anywhere to be found when it happened. I see lots of dogs become way too territorial when left in a yard with nothing to do and with the owners away or not supervising.

Lastly, what should happen here?

As I've said for years: "when a dog bites, then the owner and dog should be judged by the severity of the situation and punished accordingly".

If all I have to go on are my hunches, and what this article says, it would be my opinion this will be found by a court to be an unprovoked attack. If the dogs were alive, then I would have recommended that they be evaluated by professional dog behaviorists. If the dogs were vicious then put to death, otherwise given to a new owner. It is very possible, in cases like this, that in different hands, these dogs would never have escaped, and would have never harmed anyone or any animal. Regarding the owners, I think that they should be made to go through the legal processes, and laws should be written and enforced to hold dog owners responsible for the actions of their dogs if an attack is unprovoked, according to the severity of the attack. Should a court of law determine, after a fair trial, hearing all the facts, and given expert testimony from those who understand dog behavior, that the owner is at fault, then the appropriate penalties should apply for the level of injury that person's dogs inflict. I'm guessing that might mean prison time and serious financial consequences in cases like this. In most cases, we don't need new laws, we just need the ones we have to be enforced. On the other hand, we need clear definitions of when it is OK for a dog to bite, so there is a clear bright line to tell everyone what is allowed and what isn't allowed.

For the victims of cases like this... they often don't get any money, unless the owner has renter's or homeowner's insurance. Yes, that can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that doesn't really seem to cover the injuries that these people receive. No amount of words can make this kind of thing right, either.

Update: One thing that has to be considered in these cases is that the reports we get in the news aren't always accurate. The owner of the dogs has been charged with "two counts of failure to restrain the dogs and two counts of failure to inoculate the dogs... The Bibb County District Attorney conferred with investigators last week and decided not to file criminal charges. Deputies consulted with the Bibb Solicitor’s Office to determine which misdemeanor charges would be appropriate"

Failure to restrain and failure to inoculate are kind of BS charges as far as I'm concerned... sometimes prosecutors feel the need to charge people just so it looks like they are doing something... and they have to also deal with the fact that if they bring a bogus case to court that it blows their credibility and can get them sued, as well. I can think of several alternate scenarios that might have happened here which might have led up to this case, and the police and prosecutors probably know that, was well. So, clearly, there's more to the story than originally reported. More than once has a person been accused, tried and "convicted" by the media, while the real story comes out later, new facts emerge, and then your opinion changes 180 degrees. I wish that reporters would hold back a bit, do more investigation, before publishing their stories. So, I now have no idea what really happened, and I don't think the public now knows, either. Certainly, those people who are condemning the owner of the dogs in the comments section of these articles don't know, either. Let's see how this gets settled. I feel bad for everyone involved.

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