The key to preventing bite incidents is owner responsibility.

In the past couple of posts we have been talking about dog owner responsibility as it pertains to dog bites. However the possibility that a dog may bite is not the only reason that dog owners need to take responsible for their pets, and ensure that their animals are controlled at all times. Many other reasons exist.

Let’s look at reasons why your dog should be leashed in public. (Yes THAT old chestnut again!)

1.) Leashing your dog on walks gives you control of your animal ensuring that he won’t dart out into traffic and get hit by a passing motorist.

2.) Leashing your dog allows you to control whom your dog approaches, and could possibly prevent a bite incident from taking place.

3.) Leashing your dog on walks is the LAW in most places.

Now how about care and control of your pet on your own property?

Is your property fenced? Do you use a tie out to prevent your dog from leaving your unfenced yard? Do you supervise your dog when it is outside? Or are you one of those people who lets your dog out in your unfenced yard giving little thought to the fact that it may roam or what consequences that may have? Or are you one of those people who thinks a dog belongs outside? (Just for the record there is no such thing as an outdoor dog!)

An unsupervised dog in an unfenced backyard can lead to disastrous consequences. It is YOUR responsibility as a dog “owner” to be in control of your pet at ALL times. If you can not control your dog, it is time for obedience training. “Owning” a dog comes with a lot of responsibility, and should not be taken lightly.

As a dog “owner” it is your responsibility to see that your dog behaves himself in public, but it is also your responsibility to ensure that your dog is protected from having his space invaded by strangers. This means speaking up and not allowing strangers to get in your dog’s face. It means telling parents you do not want your dog approached in a boisterous manner that might over excite him and cause a reaction you were not expecting. (For more on this read the following posts)

Why are you allowing your child to invade my dog’s space?

Hey if you don’t get this kid away from me I am going to bite it!

You see the problem is this: no one ever wants to blame themselves for a dog bite incident, it is far easier to blame the dog, and so that is what many people do. However when most bite incidents are broken down and analyzed we find that nine times out of ten it is negligence on the part of the dog’s owner, or the bite victim themselves that causes the bite to happen. (Check out these past posts for more on that)

Such a heartwarming photo…or is it?

They all have owners who failed to prevent them from biting.

Do you know what’s happening at the end of your leash?

When dogs bite who is really to blame?

So, do me a favor will ya? If you have a dog, be responsible for that dog. If you are thinking of getting a dog think long and hard about the commitment and all it entails. We can prevent bite incidents, but in order to do so everyone who owns a dog MUST be responsible for ensuring that that dog does no harm!

Have a great weekend everybody!



In the case of Mickey the pit bull…

The other day I got a PM on Facebook from my friend Chris White (founder: Bikers Against BSL) He asked me to weigh in on the case of a pit bull named Mickey who was facing euthanasia for having bitten a child who wandered onto his owners property.

Before even investigating the case I suspected I would probably find negligence on the part of the owner had contributed to the bite. Now I know that sounds like I am biased before I start, so let me explain. It is an unfortunate fact that in 90% of the bite cases I am asked to review owner irresponsibility plays a large part in why the dog bit. Usually (as was the case with Mickey) the dog is left unsupervised in a situation where it should not have been. (In this case Mickey was enjoying a good chew on a bone in his owners yard.)

In Mickey’s case it is not only his owner who bears responsibility, but also the guardian of the child Mickey bit. One has to ask oneself why a four year old was wandering into other peoples yards. Where were his caregivers? What idiot allows a four year old to roam the neighborhood alone?

Calm yourselves pit bull haters! I hear you screaming “How dare you blame anyone other than the PIT BULL!”

To you I say, “I DO dare to blame both the dog owner AND the guardians of the child, because THAT IS WHO IS RESPONSIBLE!”

It’s a FACT: 92% of dog owners NEVER take their dogs for basic obedience training.

It’s a FACT: Most dog owners do no breed research before obtaining a puppy of their “chosen” breed.

It’s a FACT: There is no such thing as a SAFE breed of dog. All dogs possess the ability to bite.

It’s a FACT: Most dog bites involving children occur due to negligence on the part of the dog owner and the guardian of the child.

Go ahead argue with me if you wish. But facts are facts, and fact is that Mickey’s breed had absolutely nothing to do with his current troubles. Mickey is in trouble because he is a DOG and he reacted like one.

If you ask me (and this time someone did) there should be an investigation here, an investigation as to why a four year old was left unsupervised long enough to wander onto someone elses property and get that close to a dog with a bone.

Still don’t understand what I am saying here? Read this:

“why are you allowing your child to invade my dog’s space?”


“Hey! if you don’t get this kid away from me I am going to bite it!”


photo by Paul Hickey
Jill’s Guardian: Lynda Crawford

This article was originally posted a few years ago. Since it’s first posting one of the deaf dogs mentioned in the body of the article has passed. We dedicate this reposting to her. Her name was “Jill” and she was an amazing dog! R.I.P Jillykins, we all miss you!

Sometimes I feel as if everything I have done in animals rescue for the past twenty years was all for naught! I preach, I train, I rescue, I foster, I rehabilitate. I have been doing so for years, and still it gets worse! The state of animal welfare never seems to get any better. Some days I feel as if I am beating my head against a brick wall. It is those days that I go through my gallery of images, and look at all the dogs we have successfully rehomed over the years, to remind myself that even though it does not seem as if my life’s work has changed things, it has changed the lives of many dogs for the better.

My journey with dogs began when I was a young Mother. I began to foster dogs in order to teach my daughter compassion for animals. She will be 21 this September, and I have just semi-retired from active hands on rescue. She spent her life living with animals, and to this day can not walk past an injured animal of any kind without stopping to see if she can help it in any way. It is the attitude she was raised with, and I am proud to say I raised a child who understands the importance of kindness and loving care. What I wish is that more parents would see these life lessons as important.

These days children are not taught to value animals. They are taught animals are possessions, to be discarded when they have outlived their usefulness. Children are not taught to approach strange animals slowly and with respect, they are allowed to run right up and invade the space of strange dogs, and if they are bitten, parents blame the dog. Is it not this attitude that brought BSL to Ontario in the first place? The idea that the animal is responsible for its actions, and is the one who should be curbing his behavior is absolutely ludicrous! If you allow a child to torment an animal no good is going to come of it.

angrywienerWhat I truly do not understand is how the average person seems to think that their child can approach and maul ANY dog without consequences. These same parents wouldn’t send their child into the lions den and expect them to come out unscathed, yet they will allow their child to approach a strange dog in a boisterous manner and then actually be surprised when the child’s actions result in a dog bite! Of course after their child is bitten, parents will never admit that their lack of control over their child is what caused the incident. They will blame the dog and say it “attacked” unprovoked.

Now I am here to tell you that NO dog attacks without a reason. The reason most people say that a dog attacked without warning is simple. The average person is incapable of reading a dogs body language correctly. They miss the warning signs that say “hey! if you don’t get this kid away from me I am going to bite it!”  Therefore they do not correct the child and the child continues to annoy the dog, and finally the animal can take no more and strikes out in self defense.

I can not stress enough to parents, that teaching your children the correct way to approach an animal goes a long way towards preventing bite incidents. How or why they do not understand this on their own is somewhat beyond me, but proper animal interaction is to my way of thinking one of the most important lessons you can teach your children. Not only does it provide the tools by which to avoid bite incidents, but it also teaches our children compassion and caring.

Lastly, I want to touch on a subject that a friend of mine brought to mind while recounting an incident with one of her dogs. She has a pair of rare looking Great Danes, beautiful sweet natured dogs who love life. They are sweet, gentle, lovable, and deaf! Believe it or not when she walks these dogs she constantly has young Mother’s wanting to give their children a ride! These are DOGS not horses people! What’s more, they are not circus attractions! Just because you see a dog that looks sweet and good natured, does not mean you can allow your children to climb all over it like a jungle gym! Parents need to learn that the ONLY proper way to safely approach a strange animal is by asking the owners permission! Parents need to teach their children to do so.

Well I guess you have heard enough of my ranting for one morning. I will leave you with this thought; Take away your ability to communicate with spoken language, take away your opposable thumbs and fend for yourself, now lets put you in a room full of children who have been taught you are a toy, how do you think you’ll fare? See my point yet?

Until Next Time Remember



DogProfessorLinksPg-214x203 1. Never pass up the opportunity  to go for a joy ride.

2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

3. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

4. When it’s in your best interest, always practice obedience.

5. Enjoy it when someone wants to rub your tummy.

6. Take naps and always stretch before rising.

7. Run, romp, and play daily.

8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

9. Be loyal.

10. Never pretend to be something you’re not.

11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

13. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

14. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

15. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

16. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

17. When you are happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

18. No matter how often you are criticized, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.