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Dog Bites Man--a national crisis

4942 Views 16 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  shallhb
Written after a close friend's shelter dog bit an older woman and her 5 year-old grandson and killed their dog. There are no winners in this sad story. :(

From "Dog Bites Man - Not a story--a national crisis" by Jon Katz

The epidemic of attacks on people suggests that something is seriously wrong with the way many people acquire, train, understand, and move about society with their dogs. Well-meaning dog rescuers have taken an approach that may increase the amount of dog violence and frighten and alienate non-dog-owners. For some rescuers, saving violent dogs has become a mission. Violent dogs are now brought into the mainstream population by the thousands each year. Among some dog advocates, it's considered immoral to euthanize a violent dog, but acceptable, even praiseworthy, to bring one into contact with children. Sometimes, a moral inversion seems to occur: Gentler, adoptable dogs are left to die in shelters because more dangerous dogs are seen as in greater need.

Rescued, puppy mill, and incompetently bred dogs have more behavioral problems than properly bred purebreds or thoroughly evaluated shelter dogs. That's often why they need rescue in the first place...

When people buy, rescue, or otherwise acquire a dog from unscrupulous breeders or amateur rescue groups, they are making a decision with ethical consequences. They have a profound responsibility to consider their actions; to gauge the dog's behavior, to train it thoroughly and rigorously, to protect other humans and dogs from harm.
[ November 20, 2004, 05:06 PM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
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Everyone seems to be blaming the shelters and rescues. Dogs bite - that's a fact humans have to live with.

Take a look at the questions new basset owners ask. Everything they should know BEFORE getting a dog - feeding, housebreaking, chewing, weight, etc. It's great that they ask the questions and have more experienced people to answer them. But what about those people who don't ask? Those people who go out get a puppy, then dump it because it peed in the house? Or chewed on their shoe?

Pointing fingers and blaming people trying to help the pet over-population problem isn't going to solve anything. Educating first time pet owners BEFORE they have a problem would help, in my opinion.

Jennifer Speidell
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