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#121 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 12:00 PM
 
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Sure they are. They (as in every breed and size of dog other than pits and rotties) are responsible for 40% of all deaths due to dogs. Problem is, only two breeds are responsible for the other 60%.

And if my 10lb dog, or my 20lb dog (schnoodle and Lhasa apso) ever bit anyone, yes, they would be put down.
EXACTLY. The problem is that Pit Bulls were bred to fight. They just were. They were bred to attack other animals. They just. were. That is the history of the breed, and you just can't escape it. So... when a small child goes by and is making noise or just looking in the dog's eyes like another dog that is moving quickly... the instinct comes back. You can't escape what these dogs were bred for, just because now there is no "market" for bull baiting or other blood sports.. well, no LEGAL one, anyway. The fact is that these breeds started and still exist for that purpose. They are still being bred for dog fighting. They still retain the instinct to go after things that move... MORE SO than any other breed or type of dog does. Herding dogs still herd because they STILL have the instinct they were selectively bred for. Pit Bulls STILL ATTACK more than other breeds because they, too, retain this instinct that is the reason that they are still in existence today. They were selected for the instinct and ability to do serious damage.

Yes, there are many individual Pits who, I am sure, make wonderful pets. But they still do, as a breed, retain the instinct to do damage. They have not been bred away from it, like Bulldogs and Boxers have. They have stayed very close to their original look and purpose... which is why they are more dangerous.

Anyone who owns one should know what they have. A potentially loaded gun that could go off at any time. They should exercise EXTRA caution in any public situation. This owner was clearly negligent.

Wanted to add that if any one of my dogs bit someone in this situation, they would have a date with the pink needle asap. And I think that is just what should happen to the dog that did this, too.

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#122 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 12:28 PM
 
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EXACTLY. The problem is that Pit Bulls were bred to fight. They just were. They were bred to attack other animals. They just. were. That is the history of the breed, and you just can't escape it. So... when a small child goes by and is making noise or just looking in the dog's eyes like another dog that is moving quickly... the instinct comes back.
This is NOT TRUE. And this is exactly the point I am making when I say that in justifying this dog's behaviour, we put a mark on the breed instead of protecting it. Pit bulls do NOT translate their animal aggression toward people, as prey drive or anything else. This is a characteristic of the breed, a remarkable one but one that I have found very reliable (I have owned three pit bulls and known many more). It is entirely uncharacteristic and outside the range of normal for a pit bull to bite a child for riding by it on a bicycle. They simply do not do this.

This dog acted outside the behaviour typical for its breed and in a manner that is not acceptable. This is what I'm talking about when I say we do nobody any favours, people OR pit bulls, by justifying this. Pits who are human aggressive need to be euthanized, as a favour not only to people but also to their breed.

Pit bulls, the vast majority, are wonderful dogs. And 'wonderful dog' + 'bites random children' are mutually exclusive.
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#123 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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I'm sorry, but it is true. That was their original purpose. Just like Boxers and Bulldogs were bred for bull baiting. It is sad, but it's really the truth. And it's why there are more instances of aggression in these (Pits, I mean) dogs. Boxers and Bulldogs have had a lot of the aggression bred out of them in favor of a more easy temperament. Pits have not. I KNOW they are mostly good with people. I KNOW that the people devoted to the breed are so because of the dogs' intense capability for love of their owners. But the fact remains that their history is one that's not pretty. And some people are still breeding them for aggression to other dogs, which in the wrong hands can end up as aggression towards kids. My uncle had a pit mix that was the best dog he had in his life. But I can very easily see why this incident happened, and I just shake my head when I hear of it happening over and over again. Just as people with herding dogs or hunting dogs or terriers that hunt rats need to KNOW THE DOG THEY HAVE... people who have Pits need to understand and KNOW the dog they have. Leaving the dog chained up alone outside a public building was just pure stupidity and negligence. They guy should have had to pay a heck of a lot more and the dog should be euthanized.

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#124 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 01:18 PM
 
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Their purpose originally was to fight other dogs, yes. And bulls and bears, also true. However their original purpose was NEVER to attack humans, and was to differentiate between humans and animals even in the midst of fighting and while mortally wounded. Owners would bathe each others' pit bulls prior to fights to insure there was no poisonous substance on the other dog's coat, and a referee would be in the ring during the fight, and would sometimes have to use a small implement to 'de-fang' dogs (remove their lips from over a tooth while the dog had a hold on its opponent).

Pit bulls were explicitly bred NEVER to turn their aggression on a human, and to direct animal aggression toward the other dog, and be gentle/respectful with humans. They are NOT like other dogs who were bred for guarding work, and in fact are unlikely to be territorially protective or to guard a home. Unlike breeds like the English Bull Terrier for example, pit bulls are not well suited for Schutzhund work. Animal aggression and human aggression are different things, and particularly are very separate in the psyche of the pit bull dog. This is a breed trait, a very good one, and one that is pretty consistently demonstrated across the breed.

Yes they can kill, as per the stats that Irish pointed to. However, the idea that they are more likely to attack than other dogs is patently false. It is just that when they do, much damage results. Pit bulls as a breed are extremely trustworthy with people, children and babies included. This is a trait that needs to be honoured and protected in the breed if they are to live peacefully among us, which many many pit bulls do without special training or careful handling. This is a dog that is very casually bred, very casually owned, often in urban settings and by people who particularly desire a tough dog. Considering that, pit bulls hold very well to their origins IME and the vast majority are very reliable with people. We need to not justify the behaviour of those that are not, is my point.
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#125 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 01:22 PM
 
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I gotta say it's times like this I extra miss Shannon...
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#126 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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Wow.

Well, I recognize that they were meant to differentiate between humans and dogs... but clearly, they DON"T always, or we would never be talking about subjects like this. Even genetics can backfire. Or misfire, I should say.

Also, the fact remains that the bite pressure in a dog like a Pit or AmStaff is SO much more than a dog like a shnoodle or even a Lab. Pounds per square inch, they have MAJOR bite strength. So the damage one could do is so much more than what another breed could do.

Clearly, I am not a fan of these breeds... but I know there are many people who are, and from what I hear of them, for good reason. I know they can be incredibly loyal and loving dogs. BUT. THere is a BUT. Just like there is a BUT when owning any breed. As in, they are wonderful, BUT. There are certain things one needs to be aware of in any breed, and with Pit Bulls or Amstaffs, one has to be extra cautious around certain situations. If not for real safety, for public perception of safety. If you own one, you are a steward of the breed. Do not LET things like this happen.

The thread is about this particular dog, not a breed debate. In my opinion, this particular dog should be euthanized. ANY dog that hurts a child, unprovoked, in my opinion, should be euthanized. It's just that simple. And now, this person has a dog with a "record". So they need to be even MORE careful. But do you know what? I bet they won't be, because they are still drinking the Kool Aid that a Pit is just like any other dog, it is the deed not the breed...

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#127 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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I say euthannize the owner.

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#128 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by *Louise* View Post
I say euthannize the owner.
Ha! Not a bad idea, or at least not allow him to have a dog again.

I realized that I am coming off as a PitBull or AmStaff "hater". I'm not. It's just that NOT everyone should own these breeds, for many reasons, just like not everyone should own a Standard Poodle or a Schnauzer or a Bearded Collie for many reasons. Ownership responsibilities change depending on the breed. That's all I'm saying. You need to be aware of what is going on at the end of that leash. Most breeds, you would not have to worry. But some... like in this case... either because of real breed characteristics or because of public perception or both... you do need to have some kind of awareness about the dog that you have, and it's propensity to attack some moving thing going by on a bike, in this case, an innocent child.

I would be nervous about my FOX TERRIER in this situation. She would never hurt the person, but she might scare them. I know I have written here before about her propensity to try and kill the wheels on bikes going by on our hiking trail. So that is something I am VERY aware of with her when I am out, especially if little ones are riding. Not that she would hurt them, but because she could scare them, and I, as an SFT owner, am a steward of the breed and have to be aware of the way she comes off to people.

I've owned Standard Poodles that were VERY protective of me and would growl and bark at strangers. Of course this did not elicit the response it would if the dog was a Pit Bull. But my dog could have done damage to anyone trying to hurt me. It's just the perception is different. A person seeing him growling would be like, "oh, isn't that cute, Mr. Fluffy dog is trying to be tough". But I, as his owner, would know to hold tight because he MEANT it and would probably go after someone if they approached me too quickly. You have to KNOW your dog and KNOW what they could do. That's just part of responsible dog ownership. It's really not about Pit Bull or Poodle. It's about the dog and if you care about the breed, do your best to make sure NOTHING like this ever happens. And if it does, the dog should be put down so it never happens again. It's hard, it's sad, but it's part of responsible dog ownership.

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#129 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 02:08 PM
 
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I say euthannize the owner.
A pit bull who cannot be trusted while tied outside a library or store is a problem in a civilized society. If the owner knew the dog was aggressive, obviously they were negligent. But the real problem is the dog. I have tied my pit bull up outside various stores a billion times, she would never in a million years bite someone. Again, to do so is not characteristic of the breed, and is a dangerous aberration.
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#130 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 02:11 PM
 
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mom0810 - I would be nervous of a Fox Terrier in this situation too, those things are snippy IMO (although I don't know them well). You can't translate a nervous hyper small dog, or a GSD, or an English Bull Terrier, and say a pit bull is the same only worse. It's simply not. Pit bulls' characteristics include being strong, agile, single minded, dog aggressive, won't let go in a fight. And reliable with people. You can't take those traits, erase the 'reliable with people' factor, and have a dog who can exist with humans. You just can't. A fox terrier is snippy and nervous (I think, lets just say for the sake of argument), but also small, easily controlled, does not have a 'grab and don't let go for anything' temperament, is unlikely to be able to kill most people.

It's just different. And not 'omg pit bulls are bred to attack children' different, as you seem to be saying. It's 'pit bulls are not made to bite people and thank god coz otherwise we would be in trouble' different.
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#131 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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You're misreading what I am saying, totally. That's NOT what I am saying.

Oh, and Fox Terriers (a breed I have shown and lived with for half of my life) are NOT snippy or hyper or anything. So, there you go.

I never ever said Pit Bulls are bred to attack children. Never. I think you should reread my posts. I do think that people that own them (or any dog) should be aware of the POWER the dog they own possesses. That is all I was really saying... oh and this owner was stupid for leaving his dog alone like that.

I don't know how anyone can defend leaving ANY dog alone like that without knowing the dog, only the breed. It's kind of nuts.

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#132 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 02:26 PM
 
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A pit bull who cannot be trusted while tied outside a library or store is a problem in a civilized society. If the owner knew the dog was aggressive, obviously they were negligent. But the real problem is the dog. I have tied my pit bull up outside various stores a billion times, she would never in a million years bite someone. Again, to do so is not characteristic of the breed, and is a dangerous aberration.
This is EXACTLY what I am saying. The dog is dangerous. It proved itself to be. I never said the BREED is dangerous. They have the POTENTIAL to be, is all I have said, which it seems you agree with.

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#133 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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You're misreading what I am saying, totally. That's NOT what I am saying.

Oh, and Fox Terriers (a breed I have shown and lived with for half of my life) are NOT snippy or hyper or anything. So, there you go.

I never ever said Pit Bulls are bred to attack children. Never. I think you should reread my posts. I do think that people that own them (or any dog) should be aware of the POWER the dog they own possesses. That is all I was really saying... oh and this owner was stupid for leaving his dog alone like that.

I don't know how anyone can defend leaving ANY dog alone like that without knowing the dog, only the breed. It's kind of nuts.
No, you said pit bulls were bred to fight, and therefore will bite humans, and people should know what they are getting. Not so. They are not bred to bite humans. That is an important point for clarification, and really the only thing that makes pit bulls good companions.

As for defending, I am defending that pit bulls should be stable enough to be left alone tied up without attacking children, or they should not be permitted to exist.
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#134 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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This is EXACTLY what I am saying. The dog is dangerous. It proved itself to be. I never said the BREED is dangerous. They have the POTENTIAL to be, is all I have said, which it seems you agree with.
Yes, I agree that they have the potential to be dangerous.
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#135 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 02:36 PM
 
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No, that's not really what I said. I guess things get lost in translation on the computer. Tone of voice, and all of that. I NEVER said they were bred to bite humans. Never never never.

The fact that they were bred to fight means that if the attack happens, there is greater potential for harm. There just is. THAT was my point. That once the dog bites, BECAUSE IT WAS BRED TO FIGHT, more damage will occur.

I get it that you are clearly devoted to the breed. Sometimes that can cloud someone's judgement and maybe even cause them to see someone attacking their breed when they are not. I get what you are saying. I am really not saying much other than the obvious, that this owner was negligent. Totally so. It's frankly negligent to leave ANY dog alone, tied out, outside a store or anywhere. It just is. Your dog could get stolen, hurt, hit by said child on the bike, or, as in this case, could bite someone. NO DOG REGARDLESS OF BREED should be left alone with children. And if you are tying the dog out in public and leaving it alone, you are opening up that can of worms.

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#136 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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Wow.

Well, I recognize that they were meant to differentiate between humans and dogs... but clearly, they DON"T always, or we would never be talking about subjects like this. Even genetics can backfire. Or misfire, I should say.

Yes. Even though Pits were originally bred to be trustworthy around people, this is clearly NOT a priority of the average backyard pit bull breeder TODAY. How many generations does it take to remove a dog breed from their original purpose? How long did it take to ruin the temperament of the dalmatian or the cocker spaniel? How many times have you read on this very forum to get your dog from a responsible breeder (even a golden retriever!) because irresponsible breeding that doesn't hold true to the breed standard and history of the breed provides NO GUARANTEES of anything, temperament, health, appearance or otherwise? Why is the Pit Bull any different? They are dogs just like any other, and if not bred and reared responsibly, can prove to be EXTREMELY dangerous.

I'd say, just from the casual time I've spent looking at pit bulls over the last several years (never seriously, because I've never considered them as a breed I may own) that the AVERAGE pit bull breeder considers size and color, and not much else in his breeding decisions. "red nose" pits, "blue" pits...dare I say I've run into more than one "average" backyard casual breeder of pits who has said that they breed 100 pound PLUS pits. They're not testing their dogs, they're not verifying stable temperaments before breeding, they're not using any method I can think of to make sure their dogs deserve to breed.To find a responsibly bred pit is not easy, possible, but definitely not easy.

All told, though, you're right that it's a miracle that despite all this, the average pit bull is amazingly stable. It certainly is a testament to the breed that they are resisting all of this...but they're not infallible. And when they snap, it's usually tragic. That's the truth.

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#137 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 03:03 PM
 
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I say euthannize the owner.

if only that were a posibility... any bad dog owner that doesn't get proper training and is allowed to create a situation like this that puts humans at risk should be held accountable.

eh. who needs a signature?
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#138 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. This has really turned into a heated debate. We've been busy with DS' 4th b-day party this weekend, so I haven't had time to post. Thanks to all of you who took time to thoughtfully respond and offer some practical suggestions. I knew there would be those who would flame me and see things differently, but if anything it sparked an interesting discussion, which gave us all some things to think about as far as safety around dogs of any breed and owner responsibility. I, myself, have been guilty of tying up a dog in a public place, something I will never do again.

As far as what I can do to prevent THIS particular dog from attacking again, I had not thought about contacting the dog owner's insurance or seeking counseling for DS. I also have not checked to see if the dog has been neutered. We did not incur too many medical expenses since at the time of the attack DH was employed and we had insurance.

I think I will first contact the owner directly to see if they have voluntarily done anything to address their dog's aggression or if they have refrained from taking the dog to public places. We haven't spoke to them since the day of the attack. At the time they were apologetic and cooperative in giving us the dog's records. (And I know they have admitted fault since animal control confirmed that they have paid the fine and not contested it - I also learned that the fine included two infractions totalling closer to $300. Still way too lenient IMO).

So depending on what they've done/haven't done, I am going to ask them to voluntarily work with a trainer on their dog's aggression, especially around kids. They are a younger couple without kids and so I suspect the dog has not had much experience around them. I am also going to ask them to refrain from taking their dog to public places without a muzzle and to never leave him tied up and unattended again. If they do not comply, I will post dangerous dog warnings all over our neighborhood and online with the dog's description and address. The parents in our community have a yahoo group with over 400 active members. The infractions they were issued are now public record so I believe that would be legal to do. I will also then look into contacting a lawyer, but I admit that I have never worked with a lawyer before so I'm intimated by that and frankly not sure if we can afford it since DH has been laid off.

What I'm not sure about is whether or not I should contact their homeowner's insurance right away regardless? If I contact their insurance, they might be less likely to comply with what I ask them to do.

I am also going to talk with the fabulous dog trainer who worked with us and our rescue dog over the years. He understands dogs and dog behavior more than anyone I know. He also has a 4-year-old boy and understands the kids and dogs dynamic better than anyone I know. I haven't been able to connect with him yet, but we exchanged some messages. I'm sure he will have some more suggestions and will be able to help us help DS overcome his fear of dogs.

A personal note about Pit bull breeds. This is off-topic from my original post, but this discussion has spurred me to put more thought into this. I am now wholly convinced that, even though, as some owners here have advocated, pitbulls can be wonderful and friendly toward humans, they also have the undisputed power to fatally wound. Much more so than the average dog. In my perfect world, all pitbulls who prove to be dangerous should be euthanized immediately and anyone who wants to own one should have to apply for a permit to own one and by doing so demonstrate that they recognize the dangers of owning a pitbull and are taking special measures to ensure the public's safety. I for one, am going to push for more regulation like this in my community.

Thismama - I appreciate your ability to see that this issue of pitbulls is not so black and white. As a pitbull owner, I know this must have been hard for you to do. Most pitbull owners, as we have seen here, would never in a million euthanize their dog for injuring or killing another human being even (surprisingly even if it was one of their own children the dog hurt!). But it's not so black and white and I think you've done a good job illustrating this and what it means to be a responsible dog owner. It's a hard line to walk.

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#139 of 142 Old 01-25-2009, 06:45 PM
 
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A personal note about Pit bull breeds. This is off-topic from my original post, but this discussion has spurred me to put more thought into this. I am now wholly convinced that, even though, as some owners here have advocated, pitbulls can be wonderful and friendly toward humans, they also have the undisputed power to fatally wound. Much more so than the average dog. In my perfect world, all pitbulls who prove to be dangerous should be euthanized immediately and anyone who wants to own one should have to apply for a permit to own one and by doing so demonstrate that they recognize the dangers of owning a pitbull and are taking special measures to ensure the public's safety. I for one, am going to push for more regulation like this in my community.

Thismama - I appreciate your ability to see that this issue of pitbulls is not so black and white. As a pitbull owner, I know this must have been hard for you to do. Most pitbull owners, as we have seen here, would never in a million euthanize their dog for injuring or killing another human being even (surprisingly even if it was one of their own children the dog hurt!). But it's not so black and white and I think you've done a good job illustrating this and what it means to be a responsible dog owner. It's a hard line to walk.
I am sorry this happened to your son. And thank you for your kind words about my posts. I do want to encourage you though that I don't think pit bulls particularly need special regulation. I can understand where you are coming from given the experience you have just been through. However, my own experience with the breed is that although they have been haphazardly bred for ages now (as have many breeds), the vast majority retain their ability to distinguish between people and animals, and to refrain from aggressing upon people even in circumstances where other breeds would bite. Territorial aggression, 'prey drive' activated by a child on a bicycle, the animal being caused pain by a roughhousing child - these are all situations in which pit bulls as a breed IMO prove more stable and trustworthy than other breeds. I do not support breed specific banning or legislation. A rottie can kill, as can many other large breeds. Many are comparable in bodily strength to a pit bull, although not in bite strength. I support expecting behaviour from breeds that they were designed for, and for pit bulls this includes total non aggression on humans. I also support culling (neutering and doing behavioural work with, or euthanizing) pit bulls who act out of breed in this way. The combination of characteristics bred into them makes them extraordinary dogs physically, and also highly intelligent and sensitive animals, AND not aggressive with people. All those traits need to be preserved in each representative of the breed, IMO with a view toward decreasing animal aggression. Human aggression is just not compatible with the other traits pit bulls possess IMO. In other words, I would euthanize a human aggressive pit bull far sooner than a human aggressive dog of another, less physically threatening, breed.
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#140 of 142 Old 01-26-2009, 04:39 PM
 
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I haven't been in that situation. I can imagine the first, greatest factor in what I did next would be based on the response from the dog owner. Are they bending over backwards to show they are upset, apologetic, and demonstrating a clear effort to rectify this situation in a meaningful way?

I am fairly sure that if the owner didn't convince me they had taken steps to ensure this would never happen again, I would hire an attorney and do whatever was legally possible to have the dog put to sleep. Failing that, I would press negligence charges against the owner. I really am not interested in the politics of the situation. If this were my child, I would not be able to sleep at night knowing the owner of this dog wasn't demonstrating a clear effort to ensure this never happened again. Unless the owner is cooperative, there isn't much you can do to force training or more responsible ownership.

It gives me no pleasure to say any of that. I am very anti-litigious, which is why my first step would be to work directly with the owner. I love animals, and the dog was as much the victim here as the child. The dog should never have been in that situation. However, the fact is many dogs ARE put in that situation (tied up in public areas), and this dog cannot handle that situation, and if the owner didn't convince me they understood this, I would take the next step with an attorney.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#141 of 142 Old 01-27-2009, 05:05 AM
 
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.... I can imagine the first, greatest factor in what I did next would be based on the response from the dog owner. Are they bending over backwards to show they are upset, apologetic, and demonstrating a clear effort to rectify this situation in a meaningful way? ....
:

To the OP - very sorry to hear of your son's injury.

Regardless of breed, the dog was A. put in a bad spot by its owner B. should not have done what it did. Whether through lack of socialization, or innate temperamental flaws, there is no excuse for this dog to grab a kid passing by & minding his own business. Is this a fatal error? I think heartmama's quote gives some guidelines. For both the benefit of humans & for the reputation of the breed, it does no one any good if this dog is put in a position where it might bite again.

I personally think Am Staffs & the like can be wonderful dogs - but that they are so popular, there are many poorly bred ones out there, so I view any really popular breed with a certain amount of wariness.

That said, we do have an ancient APBT type dog, of unknown origins, that I picked up on the side of the highway when he was 1/2 grown... Pip with one of our DDs
http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l...hugpip5280.jpg
He's absolutely bombproof, but we always watch to make sure he's not being pestered. I also point out to my toddlers that all dogs can bite, & that they must be careful not to scare, hurt, or annoy them.

I do really worry about dog interactions (with strange dogs), since my DDs are used to our dogs, & I do my best to teach them about animals, but they're little & it seems like a toddler's instincts are to do all the "wrong" things (get in a dog's face, hug, get in their food, scream & run, etc.)

Anyhow, just my somewhat random thoughts pertaining to this discussion.

: : SAHM to : (5/06), : (7/07) Plus : & a few
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#142 of 142 Old 01-27-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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I will also then look into contacting a lawyer, but I admit that I have never worked with a lawyer before so I'm intimated by that and frankly not sure if we can afford it since DH has been laid off.
About the lawyer. If (s)he thinks you have a good case, they will work for you at no cost. If you win, the lawyer gets 50% of the settlement. (the going rate for a personal injury lawyer) This is the "ambulance chaser" type of lawyer Talk to a few of them and you can find out exactly how much this kind of injury is "worth". Whether you want to go ahead with suing in another matter entirely.
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