On Aug. 4, an eight-year-old child was attacked by a dog at Taghum Beach. Two weeks ago my dog (on a leash) and I were attacked by two dogs while walking to my neighbours’ place on Beasley Road. Unprovoked attacks.
In my case the two dogs were deemed to be safe and harmless pets. As one of the owners wrote in her email of apology, “…something I would have never expected from either dogs. My dog goes to doggy daycare… and is well socialized on and off leash. …he has never shown any signs of aggression to people or other animals.”
The law says that you must be in control of your dog at all times. This means that when you call your off-leash dog, it must come to you immediately, 100 per cent of the time. Not after a few minutes of exploring and going towards another dog or human, but right away.
I am surprised by the number of dogs that do not listen to their owners and are roaming around on hiking paths without control by the owners. Often the comments are something like, “Oh, my Fluffy (re: your dog’s name) is harmless.” As you can tell from the quotes above, you can not trust your judgement on that.
Dogs are animals and can be triggered into unexpected action, into doing something you would not ever deem possible for your well-trained dog.
The trauma involved for the victim(s) is significant. Like with the child, I too ended up at Emergency. My many wounds on my thighs are now scabs, my ripped and bloodied pants have been disposed of, my bruises are fading, my hand is healing, my whiplashed neck and back are being treated with extra medical massages, but the trauma will take more time to heal, both for me and for my dog.
We have now joined a dog-de-traumatizing group from Trail, and the dog-control officer has given me a Dazer, a gadget that makes an unpleasant noise for dogs so any dogs that approach us will turn away when I press the button. A handy device to have for anyone afraid of roaming dogs!
And the fallout is not just for the victims. I am sure that the owners of the dogs are somewhat traumatized as well,discovering that their well-loved Brutus can turn into a vicious beast. And bites from sweet little Fluffy can be as traumatic as bites from Brutus. Having a snarling mouth approach you and sharp teeth rip into you is not just painful. It causes much more than the damage described above.
And after the unexpected attack from your sweet Fluffy, your dog will from then on officially be deemed a dangerous dog with the significant, and for you at the very least embarrassing, consequences of that designation. Not a good summer memory. Hugs and appreciation to all the dog owners who walk their dogs on leashes and/or are in 100 per cent control at all times,and slugs to the owners who think they are above the law and who are walking around with blinders on. Please be responsible dog owners.