Your dog is not your ‘son’, it is a dangerous animal

Another day, another terrible tragedy involving a little boy and a dog. The latest incident took place in Milton Keynes, where a four-year-old girl was mauled in a garden. Just hours before that happened, it was reported in an inquest that 28-year-old dog walker Natasha Johnston died of “multiple penetrating bites” to her neck. She was attacked by all eight animals in her care in Surrey on January 12.

The list keeps growing: In March of last year, 17-month-old Bella-Rae Birch died after being bitten by a dog bought by her family just a week earlier. In April, 12-day-old baby Elon Jase Ellis-Joynes was killed by an Alsatian Chow Chow at his family’s home in Doncaster. He suffered between 30 and 40 puncture wounds and later died at the hospital, while the dog, named Teddy, was euthanized.

There is more. Take December 2022 as an example: an 83-year-old woman died from her injuries 17 days after being attacked by a large black XL bully cross cane corso in Caerphilly, South Wales. Almost exactly one year earlier, in the same city, 10-year-old Jack Lis was mauled to death by an American bulldog. Both dogs are currently legal in the UK.

And in London, also in December 2022, an 11-year-old girl was left with serious injuries – including broken bones – after being attacked by a dog on her way to school.

If the unfortunate roll call seems endless, that’s because it seems to be: last year, a woman in her mid-forties died and a man suffered life-changing injuries in a dog attack near Rotherham, despite the fact that the police from South Yorkshire said neither of the dogs involved were considered prohibited breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Speaking as a father of two young children (and myself too), I find this terrifying. I live near an area of ​​open woods where dogs are often let off the leash. Every time we’re out for a walk and someone’s supposedly “harmless” pet approaches us, I freeze. I have been known to physically pick up my child in my arms, why would I take any chances? At six, he’s diminutive, dainty, no match for an out-of-control canine, no matter how “friendly” his owners insist. And they insist. The only thing more ubiquitous than dog attacks is the number of people declaring that their pet is “different”; that it is “soft”; that he is “more afraid of you than you are of him”.

“He won’t hurt you,” dog owners laugh when they see my kids cower in fear, and it can feel incredibly demeaning. What some dog owners need to understand is that their dog is not their relative or friend, he is a dangerous animal. You are putting my family at risk every time you take the lead and then laugh about it. The law is amazing.

There is not only the risk to people, but also the risk to wildlife. Where I live there are lakes and forests and countless reports of dogs attacking not only other dogs, but also swans. Very recently, a female swan died after “bites to the neck from the attack, and she had lost a great deal of blood.” The local park swan group posted the news on their Facebook page saying: “Today we say goodbye to another one of our swans killed by a dog. This was a seriously unpleasant and totally preventable incident. He has been with his partner for a long time and this is heartbreaking.”

If you’re tempted to scoff at or ignore “scary stories,” you need to see the facts. Dog attacks, fortunately, are rare, but even so they have increased significantly in the last two decades. The most recent data tells us that 3,395 people were hospitalized for such incidents in 2002, up from 8,389 in 2018. At least 32 people were killed by dogs in the decade to 2022, while official figures suggest just under half that number were killed by dogs. dogs in the 10 years prior to the introduction of the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991.

And what about the lifelong fear of dogs when one runs over a child? My daughter had to be coaxed behind my legs for years because a bulldog charged at her with all her fur in the park when she was three years old and violently knocked her to the ground. When I criticized the owner for that, they laughed. “He’s just playing,” she said. “She shouldn’t have run. He just wanted to chase her.”

Sorry, but I’m going to be tough on this: if you’re in a public place… some public place: your dog should not be loose. Always. It’s very dangerous. He may feel like he’s his furry friend, or even his “son,” but he’s not. It is a wild animal and could hurt someone.

If you’re tempted to dismiss my concerns as the ranting of a rabid cat owner (I’ve yet to hear of a fatal tragedy involving a house cat), then don’t believe me, take it to the experts. The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals veterinary charity warns that even the calmest pet can become hostile if it feels threatened or forced to defend its territory.

“A well socialized dog will not normally be actively aggressive towards other dogs and dogs do not go around looking to attack others. But any dog ​​can become aggressive if he is afraid and feels there is no other way out of the situation,” a spokesperson said. “This may be due to a current perceived threat or even a past experience that makes them uncomfortable.”

The charity said dogs rarely attack without some sort of warning, with increasing aggression typically indicated by snarling, snarling, biting, baring teeth and lunging, and there are seven warning signs we all need to be aware of, but I I would say this is path, path next to the point.

I’m sure there are divisions between good and bad dog owners, just like people, but the real issue here is being arrogant to your dog in the first place. Not recognizing the potential for damage from him. You might love it, but the rest of us don’t have to. And, given the latest horrible news, for very good reasons.

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