Friday, August 11, 2006

The Devil Dog

The hate file, dog attack You won't believe this follow-on post from the Sunday, February 19, 2006 post titled, They Just Terrify Me. While out walking on the afternoon of Thursday, July 27, in Mill Park, a northern suburb
of Melbourne, 82 year-old, Antonio Olalla was attacked by a battle-scared pit bull terrier as it killed Mitch, one of his two small Maltese terriers. The pit bull mauled Mr Olalla's arms and hands as he tried to save Mitch. The Herald Sun reports that a neighbour saved Mr Olalla's life by beating the dog with a stick during the savage attack. But what's really scary about this particular dog attack is what followed......

The dog left Mr Olalla bleeding and followed his scent to his home, walked through an open door and attacked Mr Olalla's 81-year old wife, Maria. Mrs Olalla heard the dog and thought it was either Mitch or Bianca, their small Maltese terriers but when she turned around she saw the savage pit bull. The dog cornered Mrs Olalla in her kitchen however she managed to escape and ran into a neighbours house. Can you visualise that? It would make a great movie scene! I can hear that Jaws type music!

It seems that there isn't a day that goes past without hearing or reading about a dog attack somewhere. Early in July a Staffordshire cross bit off the ear of a 5-year old girl in an attack in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast, Queensland. Then, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, July 10, 2006, the second dog attack on a child in three weeks occurred when a two-year-old toddler was pit bull, the hate file
badly hurt when attacked by a large Japanese Akita, a powerful, solid, well-proportioned and distinctive looking dog (the image above is of an Akita).

Police said that the dog had escaped from a house 100m away. The toddler was seriously injured by the dog on Wallworth Road, Horsley Park and was taken to Liverpool Hospital and then transferred to Children's Hospital at Westmead, where he was checked for internal injuries. Then there's the report in The Age of an 11-year old boy hospitalised after being mauled by two dogs in far north Queensland. The police reported that the young boy was walking with a group of children in the Cairns suburb of White Rock when the attack occurred. The dogs' owner opened the gate to a yard and the two dogs, one a bull terrier-blue Heeler cross and the other a Staffordshire bull terrier-blue healer cross, rushed out towards the children and attacked the young boy who suffered cuts to his head and neck. The boy was taken to Cairns Base Hospital.

Laws in the Australian state of New South Wales restrict certain breeds of dogs but there are calls to review the laws and the list of restricted dogs. According to a August 15, 2006 report in the Herald Sun, while in the state of Victoria there are 470 pit bull terriers registered (not many when you think about it), there are some 5,500 other deadly pit bulls and pit bull crosses not listed! Despite the fact that by law, pit bulls have to be desexed, housed in child-proof and escape-proof back yard enclosures, and be muzzled and leashed at all times in public, vicious pit bull attacks continue to occur. Why?

Councils have the power to seize and destroy any unregistered pit bulls however, the problem according to Dr Graeme Smith, the General Manager of Lost Dogs' Home, is that many owners were using a loophole in the legislation to avoid detection. While by law, pit bull terriers have to be desexed, housed in child-proof and escape-proof back yard enclosures, and leashed and muzzled at all times in public, he said that to avoid having to comply with the tough law covering pure-bred pit bulls, many owners simply registered their vicious pit bulls as cross-breeds. Dr Smith urged the Government to introduce legislation to ensure owners of pit bull crosses were also listed as restricted breeds.

The Herald Sun report quotes Dr Smith as saying that "if you have got a pit bull terrier, it's bad news, but if you have a pit bull crossed with a bull mastiff or a rottie, it is an even nastier mix. They are dangerous."

In the August 15, 2006 Herald Sun article, there's a report of how 9-year-old Liam Spiteri's face was mauled by a savage dog wrongly identified as a Labrador/Staffodshire terrier cross when it was actually an American pit bull terrier on a leash, but not muzzled!!! The young boy is now recovering in the Royal Children's Hospital after cosmetic facial surgery and faces further facial surgery in coming months. Imagine now what his attitude to dogs will be.

More Recent Attacks:

I decided to do a quick search of stories related to vicious dog attacks over the last 30 days. Here is just a snippet of what I found:

Some Questions:
  • These reports on dog attacks continue to raise the question as to who is at fault here? Is it the dogs? Is it the dog owners? Or, is it the people or the actions of those being attacked? (see: Which is the greater problem, pit bulls or their owners?
  • What would you do if you were walking your little pet dog and it was attacked by a vicious dog?
  • What would you do if you were attacked by a savage dog?
Sources:

Finally:

  • If you know an irresponsible pit bull owner then please send them or direct them to this link: Irresponsible Pit Bull Owners
  • Desperate to end this post on a positive, I found this recent article: "Dog saves teenager from attacker," BBC News, Wednesday, 16 August 2006

19 comments:

Sue said...

This is a hot topic where we live (Ontario, Canada) as pit bulls were banned completely as of Nov. 2005. I blame bad owners and not the dogs themselves. ANY dog has the potential to bite or become vicious. In most cases it comes down to how well they are socialized and trained.

Example this past Sunday myself, husband and our dog Max (a lhasa cross terrier) were out for a stroll on a busy urban street when we were attacked by a Dalmation. The owner had no control over her dog. My husband who is thankfully well over 6ft lifted poor Max above his head while the dalmation nipped his legs. I screamed for the owner to do something and the young woman eventually pulled her snarling dog away. She did not give her dog any commands, did not attempt to correct her dog, did not apologise to us, did not inquire if our dog or my husband were ok .. in fact she was smiling!

When I suggested by calling out to her to consider a muzzle ... she told me where to go. I'm not kidding! Her actions clearly demonstrate an irresponsible owner ... and if the dog is a powerful and protective breed it can be a very dangerous combination.

I shudder to think if our 10 year old daughter had been with us and was walking Max ... what might have happened ...

Our dog has been very well socialized since puppyhood, and is obedience trained. This is for his own safety and health and because we do not ever wish for him to be a nuisance or danger to society.

Thank you for an interesting and in our case timely topic.

Steph said...

And I thought that dogs are a man's best friend. I guess I was wrong.

Ban Pit Bulls said...

There is nothing good about the breed under the umbrella of 'pit bulls' and responsible ownership is just an apologist lie. Pit bulls are why I carry a gun on my walks around what would otherwise be a safe neighborhood.

Trollmeister said...

Maltese terriers are fair game.

Yappy little shits. Shame it's all over in one bite.

stonemonkey said...

... Any dog is potentially dangerous, how ever the way breeds like pit bulls fight does make them more dangerous to other dogs.

The main issue though is owners who like to deliberately increase the aggression in these breeds and fight the dogs. This makes them lethal to other dogs and in such cases a dog used to aggression then becomes a threat to people and sadly should be destroyed.

There are thousands more well behaved staffs, pit bulls etc. which are great pets and no real threat to people as long as they are owned by responsible people who respect that their dog no matter how friendly is capable of damaging other animals and keep it on a leash and would never consider deliberately increasing aggression or fighting their dog. Anyone caught aggression training or fighting a dog should in my opinion be banned from dog ownership for life and be taken to court.

The very fact the dog in your main story was "Battle scarred" tells you exactly the kind of owner the dog had and they should be imprisoned.

ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

The dog at the top of your post = an Akita, not a pit bull.

Jana Vent said...

Yes I know, the pictures were put in the worng place and should have been in swaped positions....never mind.

The Wager Witch said...

I think that it is more Owner/Inbreeding as to where the blame lies.

Not specifically breed based. However, that being said, dogs such as pit bulls were bred for many years to be more agressive - that quality being highly prized at a lot of points during history. Especially when dog-fighting was a prominent and affluent sport.

I do believe the owner is responsible for all actions of an animal.

All dogs can be trained or bred to be vicious or aggressive - or vice versa.

I do think however that most dogs - that have not been bred specifically for certain skills - will generally be submissive.

Dogs are pack animals - naturally wild, pack animals are survivalists - and aggression provides survival for most animals in the wild.

Domesticated dogs generally have no need for aggression - because they are fed and taken care of.

But - like any society - you can train an animal to be vicious.

I believe strongly that dogs and all animals should be taken care of - treated with respect and love. But never should an animal attack a human.

Just my thoughts on this particular issue.

Good topic and I like your organized thought structure throughout your blog.

I've visited a few times before I got really sick - and always wanted to comment - but this is the first day I've felt up to it. Just wanted you to know that some of us read without commenting.


Wager Witch

http://wagerwitch.blogspot.com
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Anonymous said...

i have been attaked by an Japanese Akita and i dont know what is worse but i had my ear ripped off when i was a 4 year old and now i am 10. I have had a fear of them and i always will so now i am doing research to make a law so less people will get attacked and suffer like me.

jan said...

If the media gave the same attention to, say, teenagers attacking people as they do to dogs attacking people, we might have laws against teenagers. A dog attack is tragic, but the owners, not the dog are to blame.

Adam said...

On Sunday Septemebr 24 the BBC reported that a five-month-old baby girl died after being attacked by two Rottweiler dogs in the Midlands city of Leicester and today I heard on Anaova that a 14-month-old boy has been mauled by Rottweiler!!

People in the Sun said...

As a happy friend of two Pit Bulls I know how great these dogs could be. It is all about the owner.

Dogs with bad owners become aggressive.
Children with bad parents become Republicans.

It's all about role-models.

Anonymous said...

I am an owner of a Stafforshire terrier. I know many "pit bull type dogs" and and I know my dog nor any of them would ever hurt you or your pets. Please learn something about this breed before you go spouting your opinions about them. There have been many recent temperment test done where these dogs score better then golden retrivers, beagles, dalmations and many other "safe breeds" Has anyone looked at dog bite statistics for all dogs. There are many bites by dogs everyday across our country. Only "pit bull" bites make headlines. Other breeds may get in only 1 to 3 papers, where as a "a pit bull" bite may appear in 80 to 90 papers!!! There are assumed to be 5 million or so pit and pit mixed type dogs in the U.S. with only 6 to 7 deaths caused by a
'pit bull" type do do you suppose it is the breed or the owners?? And also, this is the most popular breed right now, which explains why they are heard of more. Each decade has had their own "problem dog".

Courts have actually found no conclusive evidence that these breeds are more dangerous then others. Bans have been overturned for being too costly and ineffective against preventing dog bites. A dog is a dog is a dog and a dog that bites, no matter how small or big, should be a dead dog.

I love my pit. She is the best dog I have ever owned. Too bad many of you are to scared to ever learn what great and devoted companions these dogs can be. And damn anyone whose uneducated fear forces me to make the agonizing life choice to either leave my home and community or kill my best friend.

Memphis said...

I have a mastiff myself and he is probably the biggest (and I do mean big) sook there is around. He is a very large dog and a very strong one and if he had a nasty nature we wouldn't be able to keep him cause he is just too big. We also have a boxer who likes to play with dead things - mice lizards etc - our giant mastiff is terrified by this and sits in the corner horrified.
Like people I'm sure there are dogs who are just plain mean - but I have to side on the owners need to be responsible. If you have a nasty dog you need to take the correct precautions which may unfortunately be admitting that your dog is too much for you to handle.
Like I said I have a giant Mastiff with the heart of a butterfly but I would never leave him alone with children as he wasn't raised with any kids and even though I doubt he ever would hurt someone he is just too big to take the chance.

Mmmmmm I make that sound very dramatic - I honestly don't lose any sleep worrying over him.
M

Jana Vent said...

Great comments everyone. The consensus seem to agree with Sue that "it's owners and not the dogs themselves".

Jana

PS. Thanks for your comment the Wager Witch and I do hope that you accept what I say here in the spirit intended. Personally I would drop the ad at the end of your comments as many would find that annoying. Your comment is interesting enough to me and to many others I'm sure and it is the quality of the comment that you make on a post that would attract one to ask, now that's an interesting comment and point of view so who is this Wager Witch? From this a reader would follow the link to your blog to find out more. I do hope that you have now fully recovered from your illness.

Cat said...

Even the dog whisperer himself believes after many many trials and training incidents that it is the owner, not the breed itself.

I own an Akita and I have friends with dogs that are on the list.

Our neighbor has a Golden Retriever and I read that they have more dog bites on record in certain counties than other breeds. How many of you are afraid of a Golden Retriever? I never was until I read that and now every dog can be a dangerous dog...as well as every dog can be a nice one. It's not the breed at all.

Anonymous said...

The police busted some lawbreakers that lived only a few houses away from us and they sicked their dogs on the police. They ended up having to shoot the dogs.

Anonymous said...

"The consensus . . ." (above post) That's funny! "I love pit bull" sites and posts, of course, get "I love pit bull" responses. Duh. Would this really be an issue if there weren't a heck of a lot of people sick and tired of being forced to deal with crazy pit bulls and crazy pit bull owners? I had them next door. They're gone - dogs and sick neighbors. Thank God. Let's just hope I don't ever see one (of those dogs or those nuts next door) in my yard.

Anonymous said...

i just wanted to make one more comment about akitas and pitbulls. alot of people seem to think that these dogs just attack humans and animals. well i have a quick story….i was washing my dogs in the front yard over the weekend and two black labs had ran into my front yard, well my pitbull was lying in the sun, she seen the dogs come in and she chased them out of the yard (she did not leave the yard at all). so it really boils down to how the dogs are trained and along with how they were brought up….again these are wonderful dogs…give them a chance