Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dog Attack

Emerald Heights is a lovely, gated community not too far from where I live. But no community is safe from loose, unsocialized dogs:

(Scroll down to "Loose Dogs Attack Man")

One is reluctant to criticize a humane society which is devoted to the well being of pets. But the response to this attack, as the response to the attacks on Zephyr, Portia, Bingley and John, is totally inadequate.

San Diego County has not had a case of rabies in a domestic dog for more than 50 years. But the official response to a dog bite--at least in Escondido and San Marcos--is restricted to quarantining the dog and testing for rabies 10 days later. Of course, this action should be taken. But it is meaningless as a deterrent to future attacks.

We need to institute a series of graduated fines for each incident of a loose dog biting a human or another dog. Loose dogs who bite humans should NOT be left in the custody of their neglectful owners during the quarantine period.

Owner education classes should be required of owners of such dogs--paid for my the offending owners.

My sympathies go out to the victim of this attack, his friend, and the leashed dog who was being walked. The fear engendered by such an incident never quite goes away. One can only be grateful that a child was not in the vicinity.

Further Thoughts:

I just received an email from a dear friend telling me that the attack occurred one block from her home. She walks her aging Dalmatian mix every day around her neighborhood. I pray for her safety.

If you have never witnessed a dog attack, you can have no idea how sudden and terrifying they are. After our Toy Poodle, Mame, was attacked, I walked with a cane, believing that I could fend off any aggressive dog. I had a cane in my hand when Champers, our Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, was attacked. It was useless. The attack happened so fast and the dogs' positions changed so rapidly while Champers was fighting for his life, all I could do was stand by helplessly and scream. John had a cane in his hand when he, Portia and Bingley were attacked. He, too, discovered that a cane is useless when trying to protect a leashed dog--or oneself--from a loose, vicious dog.

I now walk with pepper spray. I have promised myself that I will spray any loose dog who approaches my dogs while I am walking them. Can I act quickly enough to prevent tragedy? I hope I never have to find out.

We must redouble our efforts to strengthen both the laws related to loose dogs and the enforcement of those laws. Dog walking, jogging, and biking should not be dangerous activities.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, dog attacks are fast and absolutely NO fun for man or beast. I have my share of horror stories. When we lived near Shreveport, LA, Charlie tried to walk our beautiful Standard Poodle when he got off work. It was usually later at night and dark so he carried a golf club. Very few people in our nice neighborhood had fences and allowed their dogs to run free. After about 3 nights of terrifying walks and fending off snarling dogs, he found out that a golf club, like a cane, is no weapon against a charging dog. He stopped walking our dog. But, we have the same problem in our Escondido neighborhood. He’s tried to walk our little old dogs with him to lock the ball field gate every night but finally said it wasn’t worth the risk to them. He worries enough for himself each night. Reporting loose dogs falls on deaf ears! But a graduate fine would be a good start!