Friday, July 3, 2009

On dogs who go out of their minds

I like to torture myself with news stories involving pit bulls. They're rarely positive. Millions of pit bulls go about their daily business without ever making it into the newspaper. That is not a feat worthy of reporting.

I'm reading this story* about two dogs who apparently checked their minds at the door and went on a, I dunno, liver-induced rampage.

Two things get me.

#1: "Two dogs that were "out of their minds" attacked a city woman Monday night" - There are many things that increase the chances of teeth on skin. Going "out of your mind", while a fun newsbyte isn't generally one of them. A less thrilling prospect is the dogs had low-bite thresholds, were easily aroused and intent. Couple that with lack of exercise and you have frustrated, bored, easily aroused, biters. Dogs who cannot effectively calm themselves (or be calmed) when in an agitated state are dangerous - they often redirect that energy into behaviors we really don't like, like eating us. That is why arousal training is SO vital, even with dogs who appear dopey and dorky.

#2: ""They were on the borderline of a pit and not a pit," Jordan said. "They had more of a distinct bulldog look, certainly a mix." - I'm sorry, huh? There are many things a dog can and cannot be, a "borderline" breed is not one of them. A dog can have mixed lineage. A dog can have not so mixed lineage. I'm glad he covered his tracks with the "certainly a mix" comment but he sort of ruined it with the initial "maybe a pit, maybe not a pit - borderline pit". Because that is what people read and soon this becomes a story about two massive pit bulls who ate a woman.

More importantly and this is why people are stupid when it comes to dog breeds...this is the dog in question. And this is when I link you to the better of the two articles - "Woman mauled by daughter's two dogs" - This article calls them bulldog mixes and shows a fat, scared mixed breed.

If you watch the news story, you'll hear that the owner (daughter) has received three citations for having dogs at large. The dogs apparently have a history of aggression towards people as well.

So now we know the dogs were owned by someone who let them run loose. They were not exercised properly as evidenced by their weight (which could also be a side effect of thyroid problems, which can also affect behavior). They have a history of acting aggressive towards people. And while "maul" is way too extreme of a word (she had multiple lacerations and cuts, but not significant enough to warrant an admittance to a hospital), the dogs obviously were intent on using their teeth.

To say these dogs went out of their minds is unfair. They were owned by people incapable of properly exercising, training or caring for their dogs, people who let them get loose and who put them in situations where they were allowed to put teeth on skin of other people. They were owned by people who were ignorant of bite threshold and arousal levels.

And now one is dead, shot by animal control. The other will be killed after ten days. A woman is probably in pain and may be scared of dogs. Which is all so unfortunate...but none of it has to do with whether the dogs were borderline pit bulls or not.

*Which is titled "Dogs chewed thru 2 doors to attack" which left me wondering why they spelled "chewed" but not "through" or "two" or just said "NOM NOM, DOOR!" but that wouldn't be pc, I guess.


happypitbull said...

I saw this article (various iterations). /rolleyes

Laughed at your tiny comment at the end. Maybe the British spell it "thru"?

But I also have to say: Chewing through (thru?) TWO doors? That can't possibly happen very fast. Either the bite victim was standing outside those doors doing something really loud and annoying for a really long time (long enough for the dogs to chew through both doors to attack her, and noisy enough that she didn't notice what they were doing) or they did not, in fact, "chew" through the doors.

Seriously, if dogs were chewing through doors, I would think the victim would have noticed before they even got through the first one. We have had a number of foster dogs (and Dozer) that have chewed doorframes, windowsills, and trim--and trust me, it's not a quiet activity by any means. I imagine TWO dogs chewing through multiple doors would be even noisier.

Makes me wonder.

Nicole said...

None of these articles ever fully make sense, which should make any thinking person realize that something is up. The article might as well be titled "NOM NOM, DOOR!" :)