Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dogs need leashes in public: toddler mauled in park

This tragic story is an important reminder of our responsibility as pet owners to ensure our pets are properly supervised in public spaces.  For most areas (that aren't recognised off-leash areas) this means your dog needs to be on a lead.  I see many people ignoring this important safety precaution with excuses like "my dog is friendly", "he always comes when he's called" etc.  These assessments are usually made in best case scenarios, and it only takes a couple of things to change for the well behaved friendly dog to be in trouble.  Eg.
Irresistable white fluffy dog running around yapping: "Friendly dog" chases to play, white fluffy is terrified and starts a fight.
  • Someone else has their dog off leash: turns out the two dogs don't like each other: fight ensues.
  • Your dog chases after a cat then gets flattened by a truck.
  • A cranky stray dog wanders up, picks a fight with your dog.   You try to break it up and get severe bite wounds from both dogs.
  • Your dog becomes bizarrely agitated by the unfamiliar site of a toddler on a swing and attacks ("he's never done that before!")
Maybe its just because I'm a vet and regularly see the outcome of these everyday situations gone wrong, but I cringe when I see dogs wandering around 20 metres from their owners.  99 times out of a hundred things will be fine, but sooner or later something unpredictable happens. 
People also tend to ignore the minor warning signs that their dog has potential to be dangerous, such as nipping or growling when handled in ways it doesn't like (such as nail clipping, vet visits, or being taken off the couch).  Many of the so called "out of the blue" dog attacks have clear patterns of problem behaviour which have been ignored.
So please, make sure you train your dog to be a good citizen and handle your dog appropriately in public.  Its your responsibility as a pet owner and the dog may be the one who benefits most (note the dog in this case will likely be euthanased and the owner prosecuted)
Dallas McMillan

Dog Attack: Sydney mum tried to save baby from dog

A mother tried in vain to stop a dog from repeatedly biting her toddler in a vicious mauling at a western Sydney park.

Asma Rashid's 16-month-old son was playing on a swing in Macquarie Fields about 7.30pm (AEDT) on Monday when the Alaskan Malumute attacked.

"He was using the swing and suddenly the dog came ... I tried to save my baby, but the dog was so big," the distressed woman told the Seven Network.

It took half an hour for the dog to be brought under control despite a neighbour trying to fight it off with a chair.

"He kept biting and biting and biting," Ms Rashid told Channel Nine.

The toddler was left with bites to his head, arms and neck.

Police officers gave him first aid before he was taken to Liverpool Hospital and later transferred to Westmead.

A 40-year-old Macquarie Fields man has been charged with owning an attacking dog, keeping an unregistered dog and being the owner of a dog in a prohibited area.

He was given a Future Court Attendance Notice to appear in Campbelltown Local Court on April 20.

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