With dog attacks becoming more and more prevalent in the media many states have adopted breed specific laws in an attempt to help prevent vicious dog attacks. There are Facebook pages and websites dedicated to nothing but displaying videos of dog attacks and comments ranging from blaming the owner to outright blaming the victim for “provoking” the dog. There are so many different opinions on whether breed specific laws are actually effective. The argument is often made it’s the owner not the dog. This notion ignores the fact that dogs were bred for specific purposes and knowing the history behind the breed is important. It is crucial to understand that any dog can bite and aggressive behavior in dogs should not be tolerated or taken lightly. Studies are not able to provide an accurate number of dog bites, only estimates, because so many attacks are going unreported. The specific reason victims do not come forward is unknown, however, one can assume it has much to do with loyalty to the owner of the dog. Owners may often plead with the victim to not report the dog bite for fear their animal may be euthanized. Victims may be told the dog is not normally violent and to please consider the consequences to the family if authorities are notified of the incident.
Dog owners and activist may even try to blame the victim somehow disregarding the dog’s natural instinct to bite. This should never stop victims from coming forward and reporting the bite. Failing to report the attack because it’s “the first time” the particular dog has ever bitten simply means the dog now has an opportunity to bite someone else. Victims should put themselves first in this instance and not consider the owners feeling for the pet when calling authorities. It’s an unfortunate occurrence that the first victim of a dog attack is still suffering from possible nerve damage, loss of a job and in some cases still paying for the medical treatment when they hear the animal has attacked someone else. It cannot be said enough, if dog bite victims are unwilling to report the attack then it makes it very difficult for law enforcement to tag the dog as dangerous or even have the dog put down if the case warrants it. If employees encounter a dog that displays aggressive and threatening behavior they do not need to wait until the dog attacks to report it. Reporting aggressive behavior in dogs can help stop the attack before some one gets hurt. The worst thing owners and by-standers can do is watch a dog build his confidence in aggressive behavior while waiting to see if an attack happens. The time to take action is before the dog has attacked someone and not after. If dogs are allowed they will continue to push boundaries and build their confidence to a point where a mauling or fatality occurs.
Written by: Ashley Klawitter & Mitzi Robinson