My son was attacked by Amstaff - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Last month my 3-year-old son was riding his bike at our local library just 2-3 feet ahead of his Dad, when this Amstaff tied to a bike rack suddenly ferociously leaped out and bit him in the thigh. The attack was completely unprovoked. The owner came out right after and was able to call the dog off, thankfully.

We pressed charges, of course, which resulted in a verbal warning to the owner and a $168 fine. Apparently since this dog has no reported prior history in our city, nothing else can be done. Call me crazy, but that does not seem right considering the damage that was done to my son. He is just an innocent tiny little boy. He was really lucky that the bite did not more seriously injure or kill him. The bite left two bloody lacerations, a deep puncture wound and horrible bruising that covered his entire left thigh. It took over two weeks to heal and there is still a scar. We had to inject him with antibiotics and a tetanus shot. A hard decision for us since we believe both are very dangerous to a three-year-old. DS had been almost antibiotic- and vax-free until then. But the worst part is the emotional trauma. He is now terrified of all dogs. If he sees one at the park he immediately runs to us to pick him up and wants to go home.

I truly believe this dog is dangerous and will undoubtedly attack again. We are afraid that the next kid won't be as lucky as ours and we feel it's our responsibility to try and keep this dog off the streets, or at least out of public places like the library where there are always so many little kids.

I know people here are dog-lovers (we are, too, and had a family dog for many years who our son loved dearly), but I'm hoping that someone might be able to offer us some advice on what else can be done to make sure this dog does not do this again. The local authorities have been very passive about the whole thing. We had to really press them to do as much as they did.

Zachary (Jan. 16, 05), Blossom (Sept. 14, 08)
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#2 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 10:08 AM
 
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Dogs are predators. Thus, they possess a prey drive. That means that even the calmest, most passive dog can be spurred to chase and catch (read: bite) a person or animal that is passing by at a high rate of speed, like running, riding a skateboard or a bike.

It is extremely important that your son learn not to run from dogs. Running will cause chasing. That's just how dogs operate. Please gently teach this to him in order to help keep him safe from further bites.

I can't advise you on how to get this dog killed, as I don't believe that it should be. My children know not to run or ride too close to a strange dog, especially one that is tied.
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#3 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 10:38 AM
 
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Dogs are predators. Thus, they possess a prey drive. That means that even the calmest, most passive dog can be spurred to chase and catch (read: bite) a person or animal that is passing by at a high rate of speed, like running, riding a skateboard or a bike. >>>>

Exactly.
Although I know that does not help you now. All dogs can bite. period. I dont think dog dog being put down is the answer. Maybe push for the dog to go through a training course.
Im sorry this happened to your son. Im sure it is very traumatic. If we are out walking, and I see a dog I always call my kids back to me within arms reach distance. thats just the way I am. (not crazy like, just a harmless "why dont you walk next to mom")
*I dont say come because that is what most owners use to get their dogs to them, me included*
I love dogs, but I cant stand it when dogs are not on leashes and roaming the streets. We have leash laws here in Mass but lots of people do not follow the rules.

It may have not been your son that provoked the attack it could have been the sound of the bike, or the approaching of the bike to his owner.
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#4 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 10:49 AM
 
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It may have not been your son that provoked the attack it could have been the sound of the bike, or the approaching of the bike to his owner.
Right. Or most likely, the fact that there were multiple bikes made it irresistible.

People need to be very aware of dogs. This is a dog which was tied up, for goodness' sake. A wider berth would have been quite easy to achieve.
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#5 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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The owner needs to be managed, not the dog. Any idiot that would tie their dog to a bike rack - DUH - needs the book thrown at him. It's like waving raw meat in front of a lion and then acting surprised when the lion grabs it because the barbeque is ruined.
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#6 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 11:27 AM
 
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I would talk to a lawyer. Talk to the library. The dogs owner and property owner (the town) most likely have insurance. The insurance companies needs to be made aware that this happened, if only to prevent it from happening again.

That situation is terribly scary and wrong and I personally would be outraged.

A warning and fine will not keep this dog away from other children. It should be kept away from the general public. I don't care how high its prey drive. It's the owner's responsibility to know this dog's personality well enough to realize certain situations (like being tied up at a library bike stand) are inappropriate. I would not be making excuses for the dog's (or owner's) behavior either.

I am so sorry your son had such a scarring experience. Not all dogs will jump at or bite a moving child. If one of my dogs ever did this, I would not hesitate to take swift, decisive actions. And I consider my dogs in the highest regards. If this happened to my son, I am sure my husband would have demanded the dog be put down immediately, and I would probably agree.

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#7 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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Also, this dog was unattended and tied to a bike stand, right? In what world is this the acceptable norm? The library needs to manage this situation and make it clear to it's patrons that the bike rack is to be used for bikes only.

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#8 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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In what world is this the acceptable norm?>>>

No kidding, I can not imagine bringing my dogs anywhere, where I can not watch them. Let alone tied up outside a building
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#9 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 12:19 PM
 
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Were they near the bike rack to park their bikes?
If that was the case it doesn't sound like the dog bit out of "prey drive", more like he was afraid of them because they were too close to him.
Not their fault, by any means, the dog should not have been tied up there.
I mean, if I see a dog tied to a bike rack and I need to use that bike rack, I sort of assume that if the owner left him tied in a public place, the dog is not likely to rip my head off. I would be hesitant about approaching him though.

But you can't expect a 3 year old, who assumes he's safe in public, to be "aware" of dogs. Especially if he's not familiar with them. My son would have done the same thing, gone near him without thinking. He wouldn't walk into someone else's yard to pet their dog or anything, but he wouldn't have thought twice about walking or riding BY a dog outside his library.

I'm sorry this happened to your little guy, no wonder he's scared of dogs!
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#10 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 12:19 PM
 
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First, I am so sorry this happened. I would definitely make sure to continue to expose your child to other dogs, in a safe way, so that this does not become a phobia.

I would also like to say, that as an owner of 2 pit bulls, that it is not a pit bull or amstaff thing to attack people. In fact, it is actually very much against their nature. In discussing this or bringing it up with people, i would please ask that the dog be referred to as simply a "dog", rather than an amstaff. It is not the breed. I know of many stories of labs and golden retrievers biting children/adults, as well. I just hate for this breed to be disparaged even more than it already is.

As for the dog, I am always torn on this issue. It is up to the owner to be responsible. If they truly feel badly and are responsible dog owners, they will take the appropriate measures to see a behaviorist and learn how to better manage their dog and figure out why it reacted the way it did. If the owner is in over his/her head, then I guess I would also agree that the best thing would be to put the dog down or try to find someone who is willing to do the work, through a reputable amstaff/pit bull rescue organization. Although this would be difficult, given the vast numbers of dogs out there in need of rescue, especially of this breed...

In the end, I don't know what it is you can do at all. I hope your son heals quickly, both physically and emotionally.
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#11 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 12:23 PM
 
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I'm not sure if it will make you feel better, but I agree that it's prey drive. And I definitely put the fault on the owner here - I can't imagine leaving my dog alone in a place I cannot supervise and protect them. Many otherwise non-aggressive dogs will try to chase cars, cyclists, or joggers. The fact that he bit your son does not mean that he will bite a child in a different situation. So personally, I would not worry about this dog being a "killing machine".

However I totally understand that you are angry about what happened to your son. Would having the dog put down really make you feel better though? For your son's benefit I would really try to get him over his fear of dogs. One thing to examine is how much your feelings about the attack are affecting the way he responds when he sees a dog. Personally I would seek out a hospital or nursing home therapy dog program and see if you can get in touch with some of the dogs/handlers there. These are typically pet dogs that have been tested to be safe around people, even those in wheelchairs, elderly, and children. In my opinion this would be the safest way to help your son see that not all dogs are mean (and at the same time teach him to give unknown dogs a wide berth).
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#12 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dogs are predators. Thus, they possess a prey drive. That means that even the calmest, most passive dog can be spurred to chase and catch (read: bite) a person or animal that is passing by at a high rate of speed, like running, riding a skateboard or a bike.

It is extremely important that your son learn not to run from dogs. Running will cause chasing. That's just how dogs operate. Please gently teach this to him in order to help keep him safe from further bites.

I can't advise you on how to get this dog killed, as I don't believe that it should be. My children know not to run or ride too close to a strange dog, especially one that is tied.
My son did not even stop near the dog or even pay any attention to him. He was simply riding his little balance bike (not that fast at all since he is only 3) on the walking path. He did not stop at the bike rack. And even if he did stop at the bike rack where the dog was tied (after all he was riding a bike and we park there all the time, my husband saw the dog and told him to stay away from there) does that give the dog the right to bite?

I do believe the dog should be put down. Not for my son, but for the next person or heaven forbid, child, that he WILL bite. I know dogs. If a dog bites like this unprovoked once, he will do it again. But it is my understanding that Washington state law will not euthanize a dog unless he has bitten more than once. This dog was only 2 years old. He has plenty of time to bite again. I do not want to euthanize this dog out of revenge, what's done is done. But I can help to protect others in the community. What I was hoping to find here is advice as to what I can do or how I can get the owners to either retrain, muzzle or confine this dog from public places.

Zachary (Jan. 16, 05), Blossom (Sept. 14, 08)
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#13 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First, I am so sorry this happened. I would definitely make sure to continue to expose your child to other dogs, in a safe way, so that this does not become a phobia.

I would also like to say, that as an owner of 2 pit bulls, that it is not a pit bull or amstaff thing to attack people. In fact, it is actually very much against their nature. In discussing this or bringing it up with people, i would please ask that the dog be referred to as simply a "dog", rather than an amstaff. It is not the breed. I know of many stories of labs and golden retrievers biting children/adults, as well. I just hate for this breed to be disparaged even more than it already is.

As for the dog, I am always torn on this issue. It is up to the owner to be responsible. If they truly feel badly and are responsible dog owners, they will take the appropriate measures to see a behaviorist and learn how to better manage their dog and figure out why it reacted the way it did. If the owner is in over his/her head, then I guess I would also agree that the best thing would be to put the dog down or try to find someone who is willing to do the work, through a reputable amstaff/pit bull rescue organization. Although this would be difficult, given the vast numbers of dogs out there in need of rescue, especially of this breed...

In the end, I don't know what it is you can do at all. I hope your son heals quickly, both physically and emotionally.
I am going to have to disagree here. While many labs and other dogs bite, their bites are usually much less serious communicative warning nips. Amstaffs, like Pit Bulls (because Amstaffs are essentially Pit Bulls with a different name) are genetically and historically bred to attack and kill. Yes, their owners could train them to be more gentle, but it is against their nature. Amstaffs and Pits have a lock-jaw mechanism in their bite that other dogs do not. This dog did not nip at my son. He only unlatched himself from my son's flesh because its owner came out and told him to. How many times have you seen the headline, "Black Lab Mauls Boy to Death?" It is the breed.

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#14 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 01:22 PM
 
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Part of this is true. Amstaffs and Pits were bred to bite on to things that moved... big things.. so the owner was neglegent in leaving the dog out tied alone like that.

BUT... you are right in that the bite inflicted from a dog like an Amstaff is way worse than other breeds would give. I personally would never own one... I don't like the fact that they are even CAPABLE of doing the kind of damage that they do. I also don't like the look of them as a show person which is really important to me. But I just don't really trust them. It's kind of how I feel about Rotties, too, because I have seen even SHOW Rotties that are extremely well bred and well trained do serious damage to their handlers. Some of it IS the breed, as much as devotees of every breed do not want to admit it. Sometimes the dog has a screw loose, but sometimes it really is the breed and that is part of why I don't trust certain breeds. I've owned a Rottie and loved him so much. But I would never have one with little kids, just because of what they are CAPABLE of doing... not because I think there is a real threat. Rotties, Pits, Amstaffs, have more pounds per square inch of pressure in a bite than most dogs which = more damage. They also HOLD ON which is a characteristic of the breed moreso in the latter two. This makes them more dangerous IF they decide to bite. It doesn't mean they are more likely to bite.

I do think that the punishment was too lenient, but unfortunately you can't change the law.

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#15 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 02:14 PM
 
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What I was hoping to find here is advice as to what I can do or how I can get the owners to either retrain, retrain or confine this dog from public places.
Hmmmm..... some places have laws between "do nothing" and "put dog down" - such as "dog must not go off own property" or "dog must be muzzled if off property". I think both of these options are quite reasonable.

Have you looked up your state laws? You can also lobby for such changes - a long haul, I know, but beneficial to both man and beast.

Have you seen the dog around lately? Many (sadly - not all) pet owners take such things as a wake up call - and will seek proper training, etc.

I agree with everyone else about exposing your son (when he is ready)to known dogs in an attempt to help your son over his trauma.

Hugs, mama!

kathy
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#16 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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The owner definitely got off too easily. Responsible pet owners simply don't leave their pets unattended where anybody and his brother could abuse, poison, steal, or torture them. Heck, I don't even leave my dogs in my own yard when I'm not home. I'm sorry your son was injured so badly. Have you considered a civil suit against the dog owner?

Misti, mom to DS (12), DS (9), DD (3), and Mr. Man (October '10)!

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#17 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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My dog did not even stop near the dog or even pay any attention to him. He was simply riding his little balance bike (not that fast at all since he is only 3) on the walking path. He did not stop at the bike path. And even if he did stop at the bike rack where the dog was tied (after all he was riding a bike and we park there all the time, but my husband saw the dog and told him to stay away from there) does that give the dog the right to bite?

I do believe the dog should be put down. Not for my son, but for the next person or heaven forbid, child, that he WILL bite. I know dogs. If a dog bites like this unprovoked once, he will do it again. But it is my understanding that Washington state law will not euthanize a dog unless he has bitten more than once. This dog was only 2 years old. He has plenty of time to bite again. I do not want to euthanize this dog out of revenge, what's done is done. But I can help to protect others in the community. What I was hoping to find here is advice as to what I can do or how I can get the owners to either retrain, retrain or confine this dog from public places.
Had he stopped, he likely would not have been bitten, at least from your description. And that was not an unprovoked bite, not from the dog's point of view.

I agree that the dog should not have been left tied in a public access area like that, but the fact is that dogs are sometimes left in that manner. You can't just kill every dog that is tied to a bike rack or tree or fencepost outside of a library or store for a little while.

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I am going to have to disagree here. While many labs and other dogs bite, their bites are usually much less serious communicative warning nips. Amstaffs, like Pit Bulls (because Amstaffs are essentially Pit Bulls with a different name) are genetically and historically bred to attack and kill. Yes, their owners could train them to be more gentle, but it is against their nature. Amstaffs and Pits have a lock-jaw mechanism in their bite that other dogs do not. This dog did not nip at my son. He only unlatched himself from my son's flesh because its owner came out and told him to. How many times have you seen the headline, "Black Lab Mauls Boy to Death?" It is the breed.
Pits do not have a locking jaw. They just don't. And Labs don't give 'communicative warning nips'. My friend's newborn baby (2 weeks old) was almost torn apart by a couple of Shih Tzus, she needed something like 138 stitches all over her face and throat. That damage was done in, literally, three seconds. That did not make headlines or any news at all, but you can bet that if a tiny fraction of that damage was done to a baby by a pit (or any dog which someone somewhere might think resembles a pit), it would have been big, big news. I myself bear scars from a miniature poodle from when I was 7 and laying on my neighbor's floor. Her dog came over and bit me. News? Of course not. It was a poodle.

I do not, and most likely never will, own a pit/staffy/etc. They are not my kind of dog, in fact the reason is that they are too soft for me. But breed stereotyping like this bugs me to no end. It is uneducated and fear based. Sure, there are certain things that are true for any specific breed. Locking jaws? Not so much. Only pits kill? Not so much. Pits are more likely to kill? Nope. Incredibly powerful jaws? Yes, they have more muscle in the jaw and skull than other types of dogs.

In fact, a truly game-bred pit (real, actual fighting lines) is one of the least likely of all dogs to bite a human. Another dog? You bet. But they are bred for a temperament which allows humans to wade in no matter how far a fight has gotten, and pick up the dog and remove it from the fight. Without risking injury. Even if the dog is injured and in pain.
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#18 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Had he stopped, he likely would not have been bitten, at least from your description. And that was not an unprovoked bite, not from the dog's point of view.
So are you saying that my son provoked the dog simply by riding his bike past this dog? I can understand if my son wandered into the dog's yard. But this was in a public place. We were simply going to pick up some children's books, like we do every week. That dog had no business being at the library unattended, especially tied to a bike rack.

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Pits do not have a locking jaw. They just don't. And Labs don't give 'communicative warning nips'. My friend's newborn baby (2 weeks old) was almost torn apart by a couple of Shih Tzus, she needed something like 138 stitches all over her face and throat. That damage was done in, literally, three seconds. That did not make headlines or any news at all, but you can bet that if a tiny fraction of that damage was done to a baby by a pit (or any dog which someone somewhere might think resembles a pit), it would have been big, big news. I myself bear scars from a miniature poodle from when I was 7 and laying on my neighbor's floor. Her dog came over and bit me. News? Of course not. It was a poodle.
When the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the Denver pit bull ban, the high court set aside characteristics that pit bulls displayed when they attack that differ from other breeds. One of them was their bite:

"[pit bulls] inflict more serious wounds than other breeds. They tend to attack the deep muscles, to hold on, to shake, and to cause ripping of tissues. Pit bull attacks were compared to shark attacks."

According to a well-publicized CDC report, between the years of 1979 to 1998 pit bulls and rottweilers made up 60% of attacks that ended in death.1 DogsBite.org reports that in 2007, this same combination inflicted 71%.

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I don't think anyone wants to "kill all dogs tried to a bike rack".

Its not as simple as all pit bulls are bad or no pit bulls are bad. This *particular* dog is dangerous, especially in this situation.

It really doesn't matter why or how the attack happened. And breed history has nothing to do with the fact that it did happen. And that something besides a slap on the wrist of the owner should be done about it.

Why wouldn't/shouldn't op do everything in her power to make sure it doesn't happen again?

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only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly -- rfk
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#20 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 04:48 PM
 
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does that give the dog the right to bite?

I do believe the dog should be put down. Not for my son, but for the next person or heaven forbid, child, that he WILL bite. I know dogs. If a dog bites like this unprovoked once, he will do it again. But it is my understanding that Washington state law will not euthanize a dog unless he has bitten more than once. This dog was only 2 years old. He has plenty of time to bite again. I do not want to euthanize this dog out of revenge, what's done is done. But I can help to protect others in the community. What I was hoping to find here is advice as to what I can do or how I can get the owners to either retrain, retrain or confine this dog from public places.
First, I am extremely sorry this happened to your son. I hope he recovers and is able to overcome his fears. No, the dog absolutely does not have the "right" to bite. Of course he doesn't. And, the owner absolutely did not have any sense when he or she left the dog unattended and tied up in a public place. But, there are a few things in this post that concern me.

First, never should you get in range of an unknown dog that is tied up. It is just not a good idea. Even if the dog shouldn't be there and if it is absolutely within your right to be in that space... just yield and don't go there if you can help it. Perhaps your son is too young to be taught this quite yet but it is something to think about in the future. And, I promise, I am in no way saying this is anyone other than dog owner's fault! But, in every interaction you have with a canine, there are ways to reduce your chances of getting bitten.

Second, it is not true to say that "if a dog bites like this unprovoked once, he will do it again." My dog never bit a human. But, he did attack another dog once... and it was what seemed an unprovoked attack. I had only had him a few months at that point and it scared the crap out of me and I considered returning him to the rescue where he would have been euthanized. But, I took him to a trainer instead. She explained to me that unprovoked to us does not look the same to a dog. We cannot see into the dog's mind and always figure out what set him off. We call it unprovoked because it is unprovoked by human standards, not the dog's.

We worked with my dog, tried to figure out what had set him off, and did some serious obedience training. He never bit again. And, he became what many people have told me was the best behaved dog they ever met. Not all dogs bite a second time. It is not the absolute rule that you seem to think it is. This is true for human bites as well. Most states don't have a "single bite and dog is destroyed" rule that you wish your state had. There is a reason that they don't have that rule... because some dogs can be rehabbed and, more importantly, some dog owners can be trained to better control and contain their dogs.

Have you seen this dog out and in public or tied up left alone since the event? It is possible that the owner has taken this very seriously. He could be extremely remorseful and doing everything he can to learn how to help his dog. You did what you could within the bounds of the law. If you see him tied up again somewhere, then you should absolutely inform animal control.

Hugs to your son!

Me , 36 year old RN and future AP mom in training . I am wife to one wonderful husband and "mom" to one great rescue pup :.
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#21 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaKalena View Post
When the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the Denver pit bull ban, the high court set aside characteristics that pit bulls displayed when they attack that differ from other breeds. One of them was their bite:

"[pit bulls] inflict more serious wounds than other breeds. They tend to attack the deep muscles, to hold on, to shake, and to cause ripping of tissues. Pit bull attacks were compared to shark attacks."
I am well aware of that particular quote. Just because a judge says something does not mean that it is true. That is an opinion. All dogs tend to hold on and shake. That's how dogs attack. How do you suppose two Shih Tzus (tiny little dogs) inflicted so much damage on a baby in three seconds? By hanging on and shaking, not by a communicative nip or whatever.

A Pit Bull bite is potentially more serious than a bite from another breed. They do have more muscle development in the areas of the jaws and skull. But they do not have locking jaws. And they are not fearsome monsters. They are dogs.

Had this happened to your son but the dog were a beagle or a poodle, would you feel differently just because it was a different type of dog? Or, more to the point, say a Springer Spaniel, a dog large enough to bite hard enough to do the damage that you describe. Or a Golden Retriever.

My son was repeatedly bitten, over the last year, by a Shih Tzu x Rat Terrier. Maybe 20 lbs. But it hurt and was traumatic anyway. Even though it didn't make the newspaper.
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#22 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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So are you saying that my son provoked the dog simply by riding his bike past this dog? I can understand if my son wandered into the dog's yard. But this was in a public place. We were simply going to pick up some children's books, like we do every week. That dog had no business being at the library unattended, especially tied to a bike rack.
You're right, the dog had no business being tied to the bike rack like that. I think we can all agree on that.

Your son either provoked him or threatened him (unintentionally, I'm sure but threatened none the less). A dog doesn't "get" that the library is public. If the dog is tied there on a regular basis, he's probably used to people avoiding him, especially being the breed that he is. Other people do not go in his space, and if he is there frequently, that in his mind = his territory. The dog could have peed there before you got there and that also = his territory in a dog's mind. Kid riding a bike, likely faster than most people were walking by, then he keeps getting closer, dog realizes he has nowhere to go - he's tied after all, so he protects himself and/or his territory.

Now, had it been a squirrel that ran or even walked past the dog, and the dog nabbed it, would you be surprised? Probably not. Dogs are predators. Things less powerful than them are prey.

Dogs don't bite for the fun of it, there's always a reason.


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When the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the Denver pit bull ban, the high court set aside characteristics that pit bulls displayed when they attack that differ from other breeds. One of them was their bite:

"[pit bulls] inflict more serious wounds than other breeds. They tend to attack the deep muscles, to hold on, to shake, and to cause ripping of tissues. Pit bull attacks were compared to shark attacks."

According to a well-publicized CDC report, between the years of 1979 to 1998 pit bulls and rottweilers made up 60% of attacks that ended in death.1 DogsBite.org reports that in 2007, this same combination inflicted 71%.
Right, but no where there does it say that they have locking jaws. Dogs (all dogs) and sharks bite much the same way. They bite, then shake and tug. Since you say you know dogs, I'm sure you've seen all types of dogs grab a toy, then shake it and tug on it. Rotties and pit bulls happen to be the most powerful of dogs. They're not any more mean-natured than a toy poodle that attacks. That toy poodle just isn't as strong.

I'm sorry your son was bit and of course it wasn't his fault, but it was not the dogs fault either. I would explain to your son why the dog bit and that of course he didn't deserve it, but there are things he can do to make dogs more at ease. Hopefully that will make him feel more in control of situations where dogs are present. Teach him dogs body language and what to watch for. Give him lots of exposure to dogs, first ones in pictures or stuffed animals, then real ones at a great distance. Once he's comfortable with that, see if a friend with a very tolerant, laid back dog would be willing to have a playdate with your son. Start out just in the same room and don't push him to pet or even acknowledge the dog in anyway. Maybe he'll get close to him, and maybe he won't and that's ok. Just keep working in baby steps.
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#23 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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Call a lawyer!

I won't get into the breed issue, but it is very dangerous to tie any dog in a public place, as I learned the hard way.

I also disagree that it was a "hunting" bite, but most likely a defensive bite. Not because your son was attacking the dog, but because the dog was most likely extremely nervous because he was TIED in a place where there were strangers and vehicles of various sorts passing by. This is nerve-wracking for a dog, to know he has no defense, no shelter, and no way to escape. Very, very dangerous thing to do because it leaves the dog only one option, which is to attack.

And if you truly want the owner to bear more responsibility, you should sue him.

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#24 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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OP, I am so sorry that this happened to your son. As a fellow mama to a 3 year old (a DD in our case), your story is so frightening, and it is a reminder of why I feel so uncomfortable taking our daughter to our neighborhood park, which is about 2 minutes away by foot, and instead choose to drive her to parks that are farther away, but safer. Our park (which has a playground area for kids to play, as well as a large field area for sports), has been completely co-opted as an unofficial dog run by our neighborhood dog owners. There are off-leash dogs there at all hours of the day. It is not an off-leash park. I don't even take my own dog there anymore (after an incident with another dog in which my dog lost the sight in one eye), and will only take our daughter there in the very off chance that no dogs are there. And if a dog and their owner comes, we leave immediately. My neighbors think I'm off my rocker for not utilizing our local resources, but imo it's only a matter of time before a person or another dog gets hurt there. The police come by every once in a while and issue tickets, but that certainly doesn't deter people from continuing to use this park in this manner. And yes, there is a designated off-leash dog park as well as a seasonal off-leash dog beach within a 10 minute drive of our house, so people are just being inconsiderate and lazy.

Anyways...

The dog in the OP was tied to a BIKE RACK. Thus, there is the implicit understanding that there would be people RIDING BIKES in the general vicinity, since there is also a BIKE TRAIL right there.

The dog owner's decision to tie his dog to a BIKE RACK and leave the dog unsupervised is absolutely indefensible. I cannot believe that there are people here that are defending the owner's actions in any way, and also justifying the dog's behavior as "normal" in light of the fact that he was tied to something that was for the use of bicycles and the fact that children and adults would be zooming around quickly in the vicinity. This dog NEVER should have been where he was, and I think this owner got off easy. Is he paying for your son's medical expenses?
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#25 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 06:30 PM
 
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I cannot believe that there are people here that are defending the owner's actions in any way, and also justifying the dog's behavior as "normal" in light of the fact that he was tied to something that was for the use of bicycles and the fact that children and adults would be zooming around quickly in the vicinity.
Who defended the owner? Cause I've read and now re read every post and at the least people didn't acknowledge that part and at best said the owner was in the wrong for doing so. Nowhere did I see "the owner had every right to tie his dog up there."

The dogs actions were normal for any canine in his place. Doesn't mean it's right, but it's certainly normal for a dog in his position.

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Originally Posted by OakBerry View Post
Not their fault, by any means, the dog should not have been tied up there.
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Originally Posted by Ola_ View Post
I'm not sure if it will make you feel better, but I agree that it's prey drive. And I definitely put the fault on the owner here - I can't imagine leaving my dog alone in a place I cannot supervise and protect them.
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Responsible pet owners simply don't leave their pets unattended where anybody and his brother could abuse, poison, steal, or torture them.
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Originally Posted by SevenVeils View Post

I agree that the dog should not have been left tied in a public access area like that
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Originally Posted by Lisa85 View Post
You're right, the dog had no business being tied to the bike rack like that. I think we can all agree on that.
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#26 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 06:43 PM
 
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I was reacting to posters putting the onus back on the OP's son, for example saying it would have been "easy" to give the dog a wider berth, and giving advice on the correct way of approaching dogs and to "never" approach a tied up dog. Without having been there, how could that judgment be made? It sounds like the boy (who is THREE years old!!!) did not see the dog. Perhaps the dog was behind another object and hidden from view. Perhaps the boy was appropriately paying attention to the trail and was not aware of the dog's presence. It is clear from the OP's description that the dog suddenly lunged out and bit her son, and that her son was not deliberately approaching the dog.
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#27 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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I have a zero tolerance policy for a dog who bites. I don't give a rat's a$$ what breed it is.

Yes, the attack was probably "provoked" in the dog's eyes. Chances are this isn't a vicious dog. I prefer to not take the chance. Many of the PPs here will disagree with that and have their own personal experiences to backup their opinions.

I think a good option would be a civil suit. You want to stop this from happening to someone else. Having court-ordered training and requiring the dog to be muzzled in public are good ways for you to help ensure that.

*fingers crossed* that the dog never bites again and that your son's fears ease.
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#28 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 08:09 PM
 
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Is he paying for your son's medical expenses?
As somebody who's been bitten by a dog, I had this concern, as well. The dog owner didn't get nearly enough of a penalty for what happened, and this is the least that he could do, at least in principle.

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#29 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 09:06 PM
 
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I was reacting to posters putting the onus back on the OP's son, for example saying it would have been "easy" to give the dog a wider berth, and giving advice on the correct way of approaching dogs and to "never" approach a tied up dog. Without having been there, how could that judgment be made? It sounds like the boy (who is THREE years old!!!) did not see the dog. Perhaps the dog was behind another object and hidden from view. Perhaps the boy was appropriately paying attention to the trail and was not aware of the dog's presence. It is clear from the OP's description that the dog suddenly lunged out and bit her son, and that her son was not deliberately approaching the dog.
Perhaps he was hidden from view. Perhaps he wasn't. Of course he's only three and doesn't know those things. My dd is 3 as well and I can see her doing the exact same thing the OP's ds did but we still talk all the time about what to do and not do around animals. I'm not saying it was at all his fault. But there are things you can do to prevent it from happening again.

When you hear a news story on a bear attacking a person, what do they ALWAYS say? Don't get in the way of mother bear and her cubs. Don't startle her. If you see one, turn your back and don't run. Yada yada yada. So why, when there's a dog bite, would you not say here's x, y, and z things you could do next time to hopefully not provoke the dog. No he shouldn't have bit, no he shouldn't have been tied up unattended like that, and yes the owner should pay for all medical bills, the fine, and behavior training for the dog. But to condem other posters for trying to help somebody avoid a dog bite in the future is rather naive. There will always be stupid dog owners and there will always be unattended dogs that are provoked, so you best know how to act around them.
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#30 of 142 Old 01-22-2009, 09:22 PM
 
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if my child attacked your son & caused this much damage, would you want her euthanized?

no. you would maybe sue me for medical bills or something, but not go after my innocent child that was clearly not being looked after appropriately.

im not the biggest fan of dogs, in fact my default reaction is to dislike them all.... but i still cannot fathom KILLING a living thing because it did what it is known to do out of instinct.

~jen~ )O( mama to k 07/05 o 5/08 and c 12/09
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