Owners responsible for controlling pets properly

17 years ago
By Christine Cowett Robinson
Special to the Star-Herald

    At this time, the “talk of the town” is the dog attack on the man in Mapleton. The dogs are under quarantine at the Central Aroostook Humane Society. There is a lot of talk and finger pointing because these dogs were pit bulls.
    I personally don’t believe this is a “Pit Bull” issue, it is a dog issue, but more importantly a responsible pet owner issue.
    If you have a dog that may have more of a potential to bite due to his personality or be of a breed that is considered to be a “dangerous breed,” it is the pet owner’s responsibility to keep the dog from becoming a statistic.
    Responsible pit bull owners, for example, understand that there is a lot of legislature out there forbidding this breed from certain areas and they work very hard to obedience train their dogs, socialize their dogs and take that extra step to ensure that their dog does not become front line news.
    There are many great pit bulls out there that are wonderful family pets. I urge you, don’t punish the breed, punish the deed.
    I feel that as a responsible pet owner, it is my job to keep my dogs safe from the public and the public safe from my dogs. Dogs are not furry people, you can never 100 percent predict how they are going to act, especially when the owner is not present. They may perceive their job as being protector or be so scared they will bite. This was a horrific incident, and Galen we all wish you a speedy recovery.
    The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls bites on children “epidemic,” said Marsh Myers, director of education and cruelty prevention for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
    “A lot of the classic mistakes that children make, especially when frightened by stray dogs, is they run away and scream this high-pitched scream – and the dog kicks into its genetic hunter-prey mode … ‘I’m supposed to chase this animal,’” Myers said.
    So what “should” you do? Humane Society trainers recommend anyone in danger of attack or under attack practice the Ice, Tree and Rock approach:
    l. First is the ice. “You freeze and you’re quiet. In most cases, the dog will find you uninteresting and leave,” Myers said. Trying to outrun a dog, he said, is usually futile, and may actually provoke the dog.
    2. Once the dog is making some physical contact, “Be a tree. Stand straight and tall with hands by your side and don’t make any noise.”
    3. If knocked down, he said, be a rock. “Put fists over ears, forehead into knees and protect vital parts. Even if the dog bites you on the back of the legs or buttocks, they are less vulnerable to fatal bites than face, neck or belly.”
    I can’t imagine how scary it would be to be the victim of a dog attack, and I hope I never find out.
    For more information on dog bite prevention, visit www.HSUS.com and type in dog bite prevention.
    If you are looking for a friend for life, please visit the Central Aroostook Humane Society.
    We are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. You can also visit us on line at www.centralaroostookhumanesociety.org.
    Please have your pets spayed or neutered.