Several articles have cropped up lately about women being mauled to death by pit bulls. Bully breeds are often the targets of breed bans, and breed bashing in general. When an animal attacks anyone it is heart-breaking. We ask what went wrong? How did this happen? What could have driven the dog or dogs to behave this way?
Here is the scary truth. That labrador retriever that is cuddled up next to you could bite someone too. A chihuahua can bite your nose and cause serious harm. Any large strong dog can be deadly and can overpower a person. Elderly people and children are especially vulnerable. Most people that are interviewed after an animal attack have one thing in common. They didn't see it coming. Does that mean there were no signs? Maybe - but, probably not. I care for big strong dogs regularly. I have several pit bull clients that I manage regularly that I truly love. Many of them are rescued animals with some definite quirks that their owners are working through. The shelters are full of them. Many are territorial and protective. It is common that they have been abused or neglected. Any dog that is a few years old and has been abused and neglected is going to need someone patient and experienced to help them work through their issues. While I strongly believe that all pets should be trained and fairly obedient, with the larger and stronger dogs, it is a must. I also strongly believe that all family members (not just the pets) must be trained to handle dogs safely and respectfully. Kids must be supervised at all times and be reminded how to respect dogs. Dogs are not toys or accessories. Stick to a dog that you can control and manage. A 200lb dog is not a great choice for a 100lb woman or child - especially one that is not trained or doesn't have decent leash manners.
For that matter, even if you do not own a dog, everybody should have a little common sense about how to behave around them. Here are a few things that I see almost every day when I am out walking dogs: