Who’s REALLY Responsible When Dog’s Bite?

I have spent years railing at the government trying to make them understand, breed bans just simply do not work! “Look to the other end of the leash!” I scream. The only people who hear me or understand me, are other responsible dog owners, and it is not them I am trying to reach. They already understand that ANY dog is capable of biting, and that the only thing that prevents dog bites is proper handling of, and approach to the animal in question.

Everyone else seems to think that all onus is on the dog, and that no dog should bite no matter what goes on around it. Those of us with half a brain have realized however, that animals do not think like humans. They understand things on a much more basic level. They read body language, and they, just like us, respond to invasion of their space.

Now let us take a look at the “random” dog attack. What most people perceive as a random dog bite attack is in fact, not random at all. In most cases, the dog is reacting to an invasion of their space the bite victim is not even aware they have made. In other cases they are reacting to an overly boisterous approach which invades their comfort zone. Simply put, every dog bite incident is provoked in some way. The average dog bite victim just does not realize that they have provoked the incident.

Now hang on, before you start throwing rotten tomatoes in my general direction, I am not saying that the dog bite victim is to blame for getting bitten. The fact remains that most dogs that bite have socialization and handling issues to begin with, but I am not blaming the bite on the dog either. The blame in these situations, is actually to be shared equally between the HUMANS.

Dog owners should know their pets! Really, really, know their pets! I say this because, once you bring a dog into your home it becomes your responsibility to turn that animal into a well adjusted member of canine society. That means proper training and socialization. That means being aware of where your dog is, and what it is doing at ALL times when you are out in public. Oh gee! Let me see now, that gives me a great opening to my next point…

When dog owners are out in public with their dogs they should know where they are and what they are doing at all times. That is tough to do if you are one of those people who thinks their dog is so “good” and “well trained” that they do not need to leash them in public! Or one of those people who thinks it is okay to tie your dog up in a strange publicly accessible spot and walk away from them.

Many people are bitten by off leash dogs, and dogs tied up outside stores and restaurants. Firstly, a responsible dog owner always leashes their dog in public. A) it’s the law. B) it protects your pet and the public from harm. Secondly, no responsible dog owner would distress their dog by tying it up in a strange place and leaving it unattended. This would put the dog in an anxious frame of mind, and quite possibly trigger fear aggression in the animal. Responsible dog owners would leave their dog at home when going shopping or out for a meal.

Therefore with the above information we have shown that in the case of dog bite incidents involving dogs tied up or off leash, the dog owner is already partially responsible for the incident due to their actions. “Now, how could the VICTIM possibly bear any responsibility?” you ask. To illustrate that we must look at a hypothetical dog bite situation in which the victim is SOLELY responsible for the dog bite incident due to their actions.

In this case the victim is bitten by a leashed dog while jogging down the street. The diagram shows the dog and owner in relation to the jogger. Arrows depict the direction in which they were travelling..

ImageHad the jogger passed on the left where there was plenty of space to distance herself from the dog, the bite would never have happened. However, for some reason in this case the jogger chose to attempt to go between the leashed dog and the brick wall invading the dog’s space and taking it by surprise. The dog’s reaction was to turn and snap at the threat. The jogger’s decision to pass on the right instead of the left is what prompted the bite.

Society always blames the dog when dog bite incidents happen. However, if we are going to keep things real, dog bites usually happen because of negligent owners and bite victims who make bad decisions.

What am I really saying here? I guess if i had to make a blanket statement it would have to be this, society needs to learn to stop using animals as their scapegoat. You want to bring down dog bite stats Ontario? Then do what is logical and place the onus on the dog owner.BSL isn’t working, because ALL dogs bite if not handled and treated correctly!

Oh, and for you potential dog bite victims out there! You wouldn’t rush up to a tiger spewing baby talk and poking and prodding would you? No? Why not? Oh yeah, because they are unpredictable and have the capability to hurt you if provoked! Well then brainiac! Why the hell can’t you get your head wrapped around the fact that you should approach a dog you don’t know with the same caution and respect for space? Just sayin’

Namaste’

Everydogsmom

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