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Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:53 PM
Edited by d4j (104724) on 2011-11-19 22:58:01 details
Edited by d4j (104724) on 2011-11-19 23:00:40
Edited by d4j (104724) on 2011-11-19 23:04:31 sheesh i can't type... or spell...
Edited by d4j (104724) on 2011-11-19 23:06:08 and now punctuation...

My husband was attacked by three dogs tonight. Thank God he is ok. It was an UNPROVOKED attack by our neighbors' dogs. The owner left her front door open as she was going in and out bringing groceries into her house. And her three dogs, two very large shepherd kind of mutts and a freakin' scary all muscle Boxer/American Bulldog mix ran out down her driveway onto our property where my husband was walking. That's all he was doing - walking, when three snarling, barking dogs overcame him. He was bitten three times by the bulldog before he was able to get away. Two of the bites are pretty nasty. In addition to the physical wounds, he is quite traumatized, as you can imagine.

Our neighbors have been very responsive - the husband called to check on my hubby as soon as he heard about what happened. They brought over their dogs' vaccination records within a couple of hours of the attack (which we need to avoid a rabies series). They have apologized over and over and assure us they will never let anything like this happen again. They say that they are shocked and surprised, that they never imagined that their dogs could do this. They offered to do whatever it takes - build a fence, get trainers, etc. to regain our trust.

For me, the issue of ensuring our safety is, of course, key. If they say to me that they will keep the dogs in the house, well that has no reassuring affect on me whatsoever because they were IN THE HOUSE already and got out. How do I know that someone won't accidentally leave the door ajar and they get out again?

So, while we did not call the Sheriff, we will be calling Animal Control on Monday (they are closed on the weekends). Hubby wants the dogs taken away from the owners. I don't blame him. He absolutely does not feel safe on his own property any more.

If we call Animal Control and the dogs get taken there is the possibility that they could be put down.

We are definitely going to still call even if that might be the end result. If it had been a woman or a child who was attacked instead of my tall, strong hubby, we would have had a mauling or even a death tonight. Shudder!

I can tell that my neighbors, who are nice people, are devastated by what happened and I could see the fear on their faces as they started to realize the ramifications of what it all could mean for their dogs. The wife was sobbing.

What do you think should happen to these dogs and other dogs who attack people? Can they be rehabilitated? Can you ever REALLY trust them again? What would Cesar Milan say? (love him) Should they be given to other owners? Trained better? Euthanized?

For us, our whole feeling about our quiet property in the desert countryside, once a haven of peace and quiet, is now marred by fear. :(

178 Replies to Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?

re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By ChristinePremium member
On Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:01 PM
I am so, so, sorry this happened to you.

I can't begin to formulate an opinion on this. As you said, if it had been a small child, it could have been horrific.

If I was the owner of these dogs I'm sure I'd be just as upset as your neighbors, but I am also sure I wouldn't have three dogs to start with. One is enough for me. It seems that when you have one dog, they bond with you...when there is more than one, no matter how well trained, the pack mentality takes over and there isn't much a human can do to turn it around.

Again, I am so sorry this happened to your husband. I hope you manage to get some sleep tonight and feel better tomorrow.

xoxo

Keep On Dancing*
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By kandykanePremium member
On Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:09 PM
It may not matter what you or your neighbors want. The law may require the dogs be put down. That's the case in my experience, anyway. The dog is held for a week or other specified time pending testing for disease and then euthanized. I believe that is the right course of action. A human life is more important than a pet's life. Sad for the pets and owners, but still the right thing to do.

A friend's dog attacked a neighbor's child and the child was severely injured. My friend had small children also and was not about to take a chance on the dog biting another child even if she'd had a choice and though it had no history of biting. It broke her heart, but it had to be done.

kk~
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By Gioiamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:11 PM
Oh goodness I am so sorry. I don't have a huge opinion on this because I have never been close to a situation like this. I do, however, completely agree that Animal Control should be contacted, the authorities will take measures to try to keep everyone safe. It is true that some experts may advise that the animals be put down, I don't know what type of evaluation they do. You mentioned Cesar Millan, I know that he has had several shows where he has worked with dogs that bite and have people aggression. Obviously some experts believe the dogs can be rehabilitated, I am sure that some can and some can't.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By LoriCook
On Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:28 PM
As much as I love my lovely, gentle old doggie if she ran out and attacked someone unprovoked I would have her put down immediately. You can't have a dog like that, the liability is too high. Once they have shown that side of their nature you can never be sure they won't do it again. What if it is you or your child/grandchild next? Horrifying!
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By CaffeinePremium member
On Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:45 PM
Edited by Caffeine (183827) on 2011-11-19 23:49:18
Edited by Caffeine (183827) on 2011-11-19 23:50:09 websites
Edited by Caffeine (183827) on 2011-11-19 23:51:30
Edited by Caffeine (183827) on 2011-11-20 00:04:41
I'm so sorry this happened to your husband, and hope he's going to be OK. Please get him checked out by the nearest hospital, and get the wounds treated.

It may depend on region, but over here in Australia dog attacks are legally reportable: so if they have attacked, the authorities MUST be notified, either by hospital staff, or animal control. It's up to the authorities to determine the fate of these animals.

As to whether they should be put down, I'm of the opinion that YES they should. I presume these dogs knew your husband, by scent if nothing else, given that they were your neighbours - what would they have done to a complete stranger? Or a child/elderly person? (When I was about 9 I was attacked by a doberman-type dog as I was walking past their house. The beast raced down the driveway and latched itself onto my arm. I'/m not comfortable around large dogs to this day.)

Unfortunately I have little sympathy for the neighbours - human life is greater than animal life in situations like this. If the dogs have never done this before, how can they guarantee they'll never do it again?

[edit] This site: dogbitelaw.com . . . might give you some info about the law in regards to dog bites/attacks.
And another: www.edgarsnyder.com . . .
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By BeautifulMistakemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:00 AM
I'm so glad your husband is okay, so sorry that it's happened in the first place.

I think they should be put down.

That said I have a personal experience, not that extreme... we had two small house dogs when i was living at home and the one was maybe 8 years old and she was the sweetest, most laid back dog ever and all of a sudden you'd be petting her and she'd snap at you. Not like her at all. And then she started attacking our other dog...first it started as her just snapping at the other dog then she started attacking her as in they would fight to the point that blood was shed and you could hit them with the broom and try to pry them apart and it would not get her to stop. And my mom had started babysitting my two young cousins and of course...they'd be petting the dog and she'd snap at them. She never bit anybody but she snapped. We ended up having my dad put her down just because we could not have her around anymore because she was snapping at people and attacking our other dog randomly. No she never attacked a human or even bit a human but we were worried she would.

I know for the owners it must've been a shock if the dogs have never done that before. They were lucky this time that it was your husband, a strong big guy instead of a small child or old lady. The dogs are an even bigger danger when they're so big and there's three of them. They could probably easily kill a child and that is just not safe at all. If I were the owners of those dogs I would probably voluntarily have them put down as sad and as hard as it might be.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By moara
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 01:19 AM
I can't see a situation where it would be okay for the Bulldog to not be put down, the one that did the biting. I think the other two dogs might be okay, if they undergo significant training and are moved to new, single dog homes (far away from you). But, it'd likely be difficult to find a situation like that for them, and they may end up be euthanised anyway. I would not be OK with the neighbors continuing to own dogs, and frankly, the fence and training your neighbors suggest are barely half measures.

If you're feeling particularly generous, you could offer to let the neighbors put the dogs up at a kennel for a month or two while the owners search for a suitable alternate placement for them, but I think they'd have a hard time finding a kennel to take in dogs which have attacked a human, and as other posters have said, it might not even be up to you.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By Lauretta
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 03:55 AM
My opinion is that yes, if a dog attacks a human then it should be put to sleep. As you say, were the dogs to have attacked someone a little less robust than your husband there could have been a death.

My parents went through this with their dog, although it was before I was born so I only have the accounts of my parents to go on. The dog was being provoked by this little girl, over and over again, and eventually he bit her. I don't believe that there was a law stating the dog should be put to sleep, but that is what they did. It hurt my dad so much to drive an otherwise healthy dog to the vets who thought that he was going for a bit of exercise, but they could not trust that the dog would not attack again.

In this situation then surely the owners of these dogs must have had warning signs, must have had opportunities to get the dogs training. So either they did and it didn't work, or they are irresponsible owners who have let these dogs down by not handling them correctly. I don't know what the situation is, but the emphasis here should be on the potential for people to be killed and maimed over the feelings of the owners.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By schuhplattlerPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 05:21 AM
As far as I can see, the only alternative to putting down such a dog is 1. Confine that dog to a closed space so that it could attack only criminal trespassers (or the dog's owner), and
2. Allow everyone the right to kill such a dog should it escape, and
3. Hold the owner absolutely liable for any damages should the dog escape.

I fully realize that laws would have to be changed to implement such a plan.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By tumblebugPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 08:20 AM
I would most definitely contact the authorities and animal control and see what they suggest.

My friend's dog, who has never shown any aggression towards anyone and been around lots of children, bit her son's friend the other day at their house. His parents were there and so was she and no one knows what happened. It wasn't a nasty bite, very minor, did require 2 stitches. My friend is a single mom and lives in a trailer/trailer park but she actually has a very well paying job at a large company. Her income level is $20K above the median income for this area (why she lives in a trailer, I have no clue!). Anyway the parents of the child that was bitten are doing very poorly financially, lost their house due to foreclosure and also live in the trailer park. They are aware where my friend works and knows it is a high paying position, so now they are taking advantage of the situation. She offered to pay for all of his medical bills out of pocket but his parents want her insurance company to do so. They got an attorney and are suing her for medical bills (which she agreed to pay out of pocket in writing prior to the lawsuit, but they refused to provide the bills because they obviously were money hungry), plastic surgery bills (what the heck is a plastic surgeon going to do for 2 stitches???), lifetime psychology and mental health therapy, psychological damages including but not limited to bad dreams and fear of dogs, loss of work and school (parents claim they have to miss work to tend to their child's mental health now), and the list goes on and on. They got her evicted from the trailer park. Her dog was detained for 8 days and released back to her. Craziness!!!

I hope your husband gets the care he needs and heals quickly!!!
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down? (karma: 1)
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:37 AM
Edited by d4j (104724) on 2011-11-20 10:41:54 more...
It's now the next morning. The wounds look pretty good! He is one of those fast healers. He's on his way to urgent care right now.

Well, it looks we have a non-debate here as everyone is in agreement. I was hoping someone would post a reason why a dog should not be put down in a situation like this, because I'm curious and also it makes for a better debate.

What I have gotten out of this thread and having a night to sleep on it is: We must call Animal Control because it is our responsibility to let the community know what happened so that the authorities can take the necessary measures. By calling it is not an act against our neighbors (it kind of felt that way at first) but an act FOR our OTHER neighbors. What if we didn't say anything and then something awful happened to someone else? It would be on our shoulders. So we have to report.

From what I've read about the law in my state: A dog can be designated officially 'dangerous'. And if you are the owner of a dangerous dog it must be kept in an escape proof kennel or some other confined area that the authorities will approve. So it is not necessarily a done deal that the animal will be put down. I think the circumstances of each case are considered. I'll keep you updated.

Please keep your stories and opinions coming!
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By Felsamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:57 AM
Unpopular opinion here

You all really think a dog should be put down after it bites one person?

They say that they are shocked and surprised, that they never imagined that their dogs could do this

This leads me to believe this is the first time some thing like this has ever happened. How long have they had these dogs for? Should the dog really be put down if this is the first time he has ever bitten someone in the 8 years he has been alive?

You do not kill dangerous people who murder others so why kill a dog after it does something bad one time? What is the difference?
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By kandykanePremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:05 AM
Edited by kandykane (157761) on 2011-11-20 11:09:12
I really thought one of the hard core pet lovers would say something about the dog or dogs potentially being rehabilitated or re-homed but I guess this one is a no brainer. Which I am actually glad to know.

You are doing the right thing by reporting this. Not reporting it would be a disservice to your other neighbors and anyone potentially injured in the future.

I was pinned to the ground by a large growling dog when I was a small child, with my parents and aunt and uncle standing right beside me. It scared me to death!! While I was picked up immediately and not hurt, I am still to this day nervous around large dogs, especially dogs bigger than me. Even my own big dog, who's a lovable lunk, is too strong for me and I don't have much to do with him. My grown live-in kids take care of him.

ETA: Oops, spoke too soon. The difference is based on potential liability, Felsa. An owner faces lawsuits if a dangerous dog injures someone. Plus, I could not live with myself if I knew a dog of mine who had already bitten someone was to seriously injure a child or elderly person or anyone for that matter. The responsibility lies with the owner, not the dog.

kk~
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down? (karma: 1)
By Gioiamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:11 AM
Felsa wrote:

You do not kill dangerous people who murder others so why kill a dog after it does something bad one time? What is the difference?


Yes we do... or we could put them in doggie prison for the rest of their life. You can be the warden.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By Wicked_Elphabamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:23 AM
Edited by Dancing_EMT (115664) on 2011-11-20 11:23:56
Edited by Dancing_EMT (115664) on 2011-11-20 11:24:23
Felsa wrote:

You do not kill dangerous people who murder others so why kill a dog after it does something bad one time? What is the difference?


Yeah.....We do, it's called capital punishment in the US.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down? (karma: 1)
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:35 AM
I sort of straddle the line. I would not be uncomfortable with the bulldog being put down, since he genuinely attacked unprovoked. The other two dogs, if they didn't bite, why are they being reported?

I do think that the law is overzealous with euthanizing animals. If someone provokes a dog and it eventually snaps and bites, that dog doesn't deserve to be put down, if you poked me with a stick for hours on end I'd probably slap or punch the crap out of you. However, a dog who bites unprovoked is a genuine danger.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 01:51 PM
I just I'm just not sure why there's all this angst on your part over this. YOU DIDN'T DO ANYTHING. Your husband was on his own property, minding his own business. It's not like he was shooting a gun, or dangling a raw steak, or doing something that would otherwise agitate a dog.

And calling animal control isn't a statement against your neighbors, or a pro vote for putting the dog down - you don't know what animal control is going to do! You have no idea - they might come out, go "Yeah, we're fine here..." and leave the dogs as they are.

If there's anything a person has a right to do, it's feel safe in their own home. You don't. Why are you so angsty about reclaiming that right?

You do not kill dangerous people who murder others so why kill a dog after it does something bad one time? What is the difference?


As has already been pointed out - sure we do. It's called the death penelty. According to Wikipedia (which isn't the most top notch source, I know...), Canada had the death penelty too, until 1976. Linky - en.wikipedia.org . . .

So far in 2011, there's been 43 people put to death for their crimes in the US, 14 of them being in Texas and Virgina alone. Texas and Virginia account for more death penelty deaths than any of the other US states.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By Anon1234567890member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 02:04 PM
I'm sad for the dog, because I firmly believe that a dog wouldn't randomly attack unless it had been raised to be aggressive. But there's no reasoning with a dog, is there? You can lock a human up and counsel it and give it drugs, but none of that really applies to a dog. I adored my dog but if he'd ever bitten anybody then I wouldn't feel safe around him myself, so I would want him taken away.

I do want to flip this round though and say that humans who attack/maim/kill dogs need much, much harsher punishments. Over here if you kill a pet you might be banned from keeping animals for life and MAYBE a custodial sentence. Big freaking deal. If you cause an animal pain, and we all know that dogs and cats and hamsters feel pain if you strap them to a firework or put them in the microwave, then you should be harshly, harshly punished.

I'm really sorry about your husband...we quite often watch a programme called "I Was Bitten" and some of the things people have been through are horrific. He's both lucky and unlucky, if you see what I mean.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 02:06 PM
There's just a little angst because we are not confrontational people, our neighbors are nice and we are friendly with them and we feel their pain over their dogs. We feel bad because now the whole dynamic between us and them has changed. When you live in a small community and are close with neighbors it is unfortunate to find yourself in a weird situation with them. But it won't stop us from calling the authorities. We will take the proper steps to protect others and ourselves and we don't feel guilty about it at all.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By kandykanePremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 02:13 PM
I understand what you mean, D4j. We had an incident with our neighbors a year or two ago that changed everything with our relationship. He was arrested for growing pot in his garage. I had thought they were nice people, but I don't want that kind of stuff in my neighborhood. We rarely speak anymore and I just wish they would move now.

kk~
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By Eireannmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 05:42 PM
While I don't think every dog that bites should be put down (or reported, depending on circumstances), this was a random, unprovoked attack. Let me elaborate:

Our dog, a large, very timid greyhound cross, went missing for two weeks in a heavily wooded neighbourhood. We put on an intensive search and, eventually, someone who had set up a live trap in his yard managed to catch her around midnight. Until I could come get her the next morning, he wanted to move her to his heated garage. She was terrified and cowering against the ground, so he had to get a choke chain on her and essentially drag her along the grass to get her safely inside. She panicked and snapped, catching him on the chest, where he wound up needing two stitches. He did not report her, and she has never shown any aggression, even when spooked or startled. In this situation, I think 'not reporting' was a valid option.

In your situation, your husband (who, yes, SHOULD have a familiar scent) was attacked, unprovoked, on his own property. It shouldn't even be a question whether it gets reported - it's not even as though you could isolate a 'trigger' for the attack, so how would they even go about training the dog out of it?!

I hate bringing breed into the equation, because usually it's irrelevant (like the stigma against pit bulls), but the fact is that it probably does play somewhat a role here. Three large, high energy dogs take a LOT of time and dedication to properly train, control and exercise. If we want to go all Cesar Milan here, they'd need a VERY strong pack leader. Training and a fenced yard should have been in place from the start, not as band-aid after the fact - it would have likely made life a lot better for those animals all along, in addition to keeping those around them safe.

The boxer/bull dog cross may have to be put down, and the shepherd mixes should probably be re-homed. If I'm reading right, they ran up but didn't bite - shepherds have been bred as guard dogs for years, to growl and bark as a warning, so if they didn't bite, they've still got a good shot (with training) to be rehabbed. Unfortunately, as nice as I'm sure you're neighbours are, they don't sound like particularly responsible pet owners.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By ballerinatwirler
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 06:32 PM
I don't really have much to add but lately I've been reading in the paper about similar situations. One german shepherd was taken away from his owners because he attacked a shih tzu and the owner. My dad has a shepherd and he has knocked over a little girl ( HE DID NOT BIT OR INJURE HER IN ANY WAY) but that was my dad's fault completely because he didn't take him out on a lease. He wanted to give the girl kisses and she called him over but anyways.. I don't think the dogs that did not bite should be harmed or taken away. Unless your neighbor has an excellent plan to keep the dogs out of your yard period that probably could lose them depending on laws in your state.

It seems like the owners are trying to be proactive about the situation. I really hope you guys can get this straightened out without having to put any of the dogs down.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down? (karma: 2)
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 06:33 PM
Edited by Heart (21721) on 2011-11-20 18:39:00
There is no such thing as an unprovoked dog attack. Just because we as humans cannot perceive what the threat was doesn't mean that it was not there. Healthy animals do not attack without reason. I have a lot of problem with terming it "unprovoked." I'm sure if a dog trainer had been there they would easily have been able to identify the trigger.

I do not think that dog should be put down. And the death penalty is only for actual aggravated murders, for Pete's sake. Not for assaults or even attempted murder. That's completely irrelevant in this case!

I think a fence is a reasonable, humane, safe solution.

If this is the first time one of the dogs has ever shown any kind of aggression toward a human, I find calling for it to be euthanized reprehensible, quite frankly.



I see where you're coming from, but as a dog owner I just can't say I think euthanizing a pet as punishment is ever correct. The fault is with the owners, not the animal. And they sound like legitimately good people, it wasn't like they were intentionally raising fighter dogs or something.
re: Should a Dog Who Attacked a Human be Put Down?
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 20, 2011 06:57 PM
Edited by d4j (104724) on 2011-11-20 19:01:11
Unprovoked means exactly that - unprovoked. He was walking. He didn't look at them, make a noise or threatening gesture. The dogs saw him and ran straight for him. Not sure what the trigger could be. The bulldog was definitely the aggressor. The other two were following his lead. They tried to bite as well but only the bulldog made contact.

These dogs have a fenced in yard where they are kept all day every day with no human interaction. The owners work all day. So the dogs have nothing to do but patrol the fence and bark at anything that goes by. It so happens that they bark at my husband every day because he is outside a lot. And then when we drag our trash cans to the curb they go ballistic. Just a few weeks ago we talked about the dogs and how they seemed aggressive and I worried that they could get out of their yard.

In the case of the attack, they were not fenced in, they were in the house and ran out the FRONT door so there was nothing to stop them. She called them but they wouldn't listen to her.

I've owned a dog before so I'm not unsympathetic to the owners and I'm not necessarily chanting 'death to the dog'! But this dog is a huge mass of muscle and there is no way most people could fight off a dog like that.

EDIT - Perhaps the 'trigger' was that the dogs see him every day and they were frustrated that they couldn't get to him and so when they got free they finally had their chance? Don't know if dogs think like that... but it's the only thing I can come up with.
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