How do we possibly place blame?
I just heard about a 4-year-old boy, pulled under a fence and mauled by 4 Pit Bull dogs. The way this happened was that the mother was walking on the sidewalk and the dogs were behind a closed gate in a fenced driveway. There was enough of a gap that the dogs were able to reach out and pull the boy into the yard and maul him severely. Ultimately, the police shot several of the dogs to free the child and then transported the boy to the hospital where he subsequently died.
I’m going to state the obvious, that any death is awful. And I mean both the child and the dogs. Though I work with aggressive dogs and dog bite cases often, I’m never comfortable hearing about the damage that can be done. This is an unexpected and unexplainable tragedy. Is there a message here and if so, is there anything we can take away that’s helpful?
- I don’t blame the dog’s owners; they had their dogs securely locked in their yard.
- I’m don’t blame the mother for walking close to the fence, how could she possible know.
- I’m not blaming Pit Bulls as any breed can do damage to a small child.
Of course if the owners had better trained the dogs or had a better fence or if the mother walked somewhere else it might not have happened. But maybe the blame should fall on the animal care and control department in Detroit. As it turns out, the dogs have gotten out of their yard before and there have been prior complaints. As a professional dog trainer for nearly 30 years, I have worked tirelessly to help owners and dogs have a good life and become welcome members of our community. As a certified dog behavior consultant, I have helped countless owners solve aggression and other problematic dog behavior. As a dog bite expert witness I work with the courts and animal control to sort out the aftermath of dangerous dog cases.
At the end of the day, animal regulatory agencies need to do a better job. That is where we need to put our efforts of education. They need to do better protecting the public from dangerous dogs, and they need to do more to help more people adopt the good ones. At the end of the day, that is the take away here.