Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Tragedy

Today I read with much sadness of another fatal dog attack on a small child.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-24839612
Little Lexi Branson was killed in her Leicestershire home by the family pet, which as it turned out , was a male bulldog albeit what looked like  a bulldog cross.
The dog was apparently bought from rescue centre , so should have been assessed carefully for life within family home. It was also a breed not  known  for it's aggressive   nature, yet because of one unforeseen reason or another, the dog turned on the little girl and mauled her to death before being killed itself by the girl's  desperate mother .
I am insanely careful where children and our dogs  are concerned. Even though all  four dogs are delightfully warm and friendly characters, I will never allow a child to stroke them unless I can control the situation and make introductions calm and nonthreatening, Running kids are always stopped with a sharp " NEVER RUN TOWARDS A DOG YOU DONT KNOW!" and I have been known to bellow " control your child!" Orders to fraught mothers, when little fingers reach out for a hug.
Dogs need love. They need consistency, and they need to be given respect for being animals and not strange hairy little people.
They  are animals that think as animals do
and no matter how much we would like to think....we do not walk in their paw steps.

52 comments:

  1. I was taught to always ask first if it was okay to touch an animal...and to always let the animal smell your hand first. We taught the same thing to our daughter and she is passing the lesson along as well. No matter how well behaved and gentle an animal is, it is STILL an animal and can be unpredictable. My heart goes out to the family who lost their little girl.

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    1. I think that small children can be more unpredictable
      Therefore they are more at risk me thinks

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    2. Followed for a while but never commented before. This however is a subject really close to my heart. We have five children and seven dogs. My children have always been taught to ask before stroking any dog however big or small. Our latest addition are two 10 wk old Staffordshire Bull Terriers which are a breed that have a lot of controversial media attention so I'm expecting a lot of negativity towards them. Although I have the deepest sympathy for this family I think it's the first time I've heard of a rescue dog fatally attacking somebody. You hear it time and time again, it's how they are socialized and treated. Even the best brought up child can go off the rails! Dogs like children are individuals, even I as an adult behave badly at times!! I'm sorry that my first comment has to be about such a sad situation, but at least it made me comment! Maybe next time my comments will be about a lighter topic!

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  2. so very very true. i have such problems with people when it comes to teddy. though she looks like a stuffed animal, chows are very leery of strangers. they do not like quick movements. they do not respond well when people reach out quickly or point at them. i sometimes wonder where peoples brains are when it comes to their actions or what they allow their children to do.

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  3. This happens too often here. Who knows what that dog has experienced before finding a loving home.

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    1. It makes you think how thorough the checks were at the animal centre?

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  4. Such sad news, again hearing to many times about this in the news, AFM xx

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  5. You just can not teach stupid.

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  6. Unfortunately, there are just too many people who live sterile little lives and their children never get to experience animals beyond maybe a parakeet or a hamster. I'm not suggesting the poor child who died was one of these, just that many people don't have a clue.

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  7. I totally agree. I love dogs but never kid myself that I know what they're thinking or feeling. There view of the world might be similar to our but it is also, on another level, completely alien.

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  8. My dear John, when I caught the headline earlier today I thought of you, wondering what you might have to say.

    Like you I come from a time when animals were respected. I remember the first time I went into a milking shed (all the cows had names) and was taught what not to do when milking a cow. To never approach a horse from behind. That a 'guard dog' was indeed just that. Not some cuddly toy. There are does and don'ts. Wonder what it was like on Noah's Ark.

    Greetings from the woman who once was (age nine or so) spat at by a Llama (Hamburg Zoo). My crime? I had looked at it. I didn't take it personal. After all: Who wants to be gawped at all day through a wire fence? Still, I have to hand it to Llamas: Only Camels in Cairo match them looking down at you with an arrogance unrivalled. See what I have just done? The very thing I do not like: Transferring my human perception onto an animal.

    U

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    1. I have been spat only worse Ursula

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    2. I was told by a llama owner that they spit if they're too young when taken away from their mothers. One of his llama's took crackers, very gently, that The Hurricane held between her teeth.

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  9. That's very sad, but I like the way you handle dog and children situations. Franklin is afraid of children. Scout loved them. The Hurricane's Labradoodle, Emma, was the best with kids. As soon as she saw a child, she would sit and wait for the love to come to her. She was very good with elderly people, too.

    Love,
    Janie

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  10. Another tragedy that gets a particular breed, and dogs in general, a bad name.
    I have always believed that nobody can ever 100% trust any dog, even their own, and you have to be vigilant where strangers and especially children are around.
    My heart goes out the family because it was almost certainly avoidable.

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  11. I just don't know what to say.. so sad for everyone.
    I agree with what you and Delores said.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Scottie's can be occasionally snappy.... George is my main worry x

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  12. I wonder where everyone fits in these new build houses where they are now so small and a garden that is stamp sized. Do these people have animals? if they do can they let them into the garden?

    I would love a dog. We have a lovely long garden and 2 lovely walks near by. But we work all day. I am acutely aware that it would be home alone all day. that can cause all sorts of anxiety for them.

    I feel awful for the family. what a sad loss.

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  13. Such a terrible tragedy. Our local rescue has changed it's rehoming system, you can't go along and view the dogs and pick one out. Now they interview prospective adopters first, find out about their lifestyle, then match a dog to their particular circumstances. It doesn't seem right to put a dog of that size in a family with a small child.

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  14. I'm so sorry for the child and her parents, but I have to agree with the other commenters. I, too, was taught at an early age to be gentle and respectful with animals and people, especially animals I didn't know. I still remember with gratitude that when, many years ago, a toddler grabbed 2 fistfuls of skin on the back of my very large German Shephard and BIT him, that Fritz just turned quickly to look at the child and then moved away to settle in a far corner. That could have been disastrous.

    Nancy in Iowa (for a few more days)

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  15. Absolutely. It drives me mad when people round here let their dogs run free as if it's their right in the countryside. Any dog can turn in the wrong circumstances. OB used to be terrified of dogs when he was little and we were constantly fending off jumpy-uppy canines whose owners would just laugh and shout "he's only being friendly".

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  16. I would never have a dog with an unknown history if I had a child and certainly never leave a child alone in any room with a dog. Having just seen our local news (we live in Leicester) the Mother had the dog from the same rescue as we had our current Yorkie - we didn't even get a home check

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    1. I am shocked
      Most centres check the home thoroughly... I have only just noticed it was a flat.......I wonder if it had a garden?

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    2. I don't wish to be judgemental but I thought the same - a dog like that in a flat is just stupid.
      We literally turned up at the rescue to meet Kimi, filled in the forms, paid a deposit and took him home. Paid the balance after we'd had him a week. I took references and all the paperwork from our landlord saying we could have 2 dogs but they didn't want to see it.

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  17. So many people think animals are there for amusement, they are not..
    Like people, if they are ill treated they become either withdrawn or agressive, I feel for the mother and the dog in this case.

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  18. Poor family, poor dog.

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  19. Always remember the inner wolf...

    Cesar Milan is our family's hero.

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  20. So very sad. Like some of your other posters, I have shared my life with a goodly number of dogs, assorted breeds, 5 of them rehomed to us, but never would leave a small child in a room alone with any of them, a stairgate, or indeed several of them came in very handy, no-one was excluded but children safe from dogs and dogs safe from children = win win.

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  21. Sad and bad. And, like Delores, we were brought up to respect dog's space. I learned to walk pulling myself up on our German Shepherd's tail and teethed on the poor animals ears. And when I played rough - I was removed.

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  22. What a horrible tragedy. I've always been adamantly opposed to having small children anywhere near dogs. Even cats can't be trusted.

    Here in the wilds of West Texas numerous people have been seriously mauled by stray dogs - - and several horses and ponies have been killed by them.

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    1. Are they truly feral?

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    2. The dogs that killed the horses were truly feral. The ones who mauled the people were not. Some of them were supposedly "tame" pets.

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  23. if anyone asks if my dogs bite, I tell them that all dogs can bite, mine just haven't yet - everyone should be sensible with children and dogs. I taught my kids to never touch dogs they didn't know unless the owner introduced them

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    1. Yes...children need to understand rules from early on.....it also teaches them to respect the space of other people let alone animals

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  24. Yes, very sad and very avoidable, if others had the sense that you had with dogs around children. An acquaintance of mine had to have his nose stitched back on after stupidly trying to kiss a miniature poodle.

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    1. Bet you have been injured by a few females you have tried to kiss!

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  25. I'm always tempted to have a family dog here and every yerar I say I'm going to get one but then I think I just wouldn't forgive myself if anything happened to my little girls. Maybe I'll leave it a few years until they're a bit bigger and they can be taught the boundries that animals come with. You're right about how some people are with dogs, but also many dog walkers are irresponsible (as you know from my post last week) and I worry about them playing in the garden and one just running up to them and bitting them.
    Must be a hard time for that family and I've no idea how you'd get over that. Thought provoking post John

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    1. Kev....I think kids over seven generally can understand the rules with dogs
      Mind you if you go with a Labrador .....you could shave a few years off that

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  26. What a tragedy. You are very wise about dogs. Many are not.

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  27. I was brought up with a dog, she was born three weeks after i was, and she came to live with us when she was six months old. Such a gentle, caring soul, we hit the jackpot with her.

    My parents also made sure we knew how to behave around her and other animals. Still, i ended up getting bitten twice by dogs when i showed no fear. One i mistook for our neighbour's dog, who was a kind soul, and one was a dog who knew me.

    Very sad when this sort of thing happens John, such as happened in Leicestershire. So many times, it could be completely avoidable.

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  28. Something that occurred to me when looking after a friend's dog, is that while he is great and friendly little dog, what would he be like with children? I can't imagine there would be a problem, but you don't know and care needs to be taken until you do know. He is a small dog and not really capable of killing a child, people with large and powerful dogs need to be very careful.

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  29. We watch our little ones very closely around the dogs....they are usually very friendly but you never know do you?

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  30. When I first read this story they said it was a Mastiff, then later they changed it to Pit Bull. In either case both the rescue centre and the woman were totally irresponsible, and both should be prosecuted. It's no different to taking home a bomb, lighting a long fuse, and waiting for it to explode!

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  31. While I feel desperately sad for the mother, and grateful that she tried to adopt an animal that needed a home, I can't help feeling that, if you have a four-year-old child, it would make much more sense to adopt a dog that's a lot smaller than the kid. Sure, a small dog can do a lot of damage - but you can pick it up and drag it away in emergencies.

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  32. This happens all too frequently. A few months ago over here in the states a baby was mauled to death by a family dog that had never shown any signs of aggression. So so sad.

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  33. We have a handicapped jack russell. Our son who is almost two has been taught to NEVER go near the dog's face and to respect her space. She has her little quirks because of her handicap so she needs to be handled a little differently than a regular dog. They do play well outside together, but it is under my supervision. He barely pets her unless one of us is holding her as he is well aware of her flighty nature.
    I am always amazed how when we are at the park and if someone has a dog, how many parents let their little ones run over to the animal. A woman was there with a puppy once and was totally fine letting all these strange kid fuss over it. Instead of using it as a teaching moment, everyone involved just let these strangers all interact without saying to each child, "No, please do not rush at her, she is young and may jump". Damn shame,

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  34. I always keep Rosy on a short lead when a child approaches and usually a loud 'BE CAREFUL' makes the child stop short of touching her and makes the parents ask if she bites. She doesn't but she's a terrier and a 'submissive aggressive' personality therefore she needs her space to be invaded slowly and in a friendly way, once folk give her respect she gives it to them and is loving and gentle.

    We are all different and dogs are all different, and we have to teach youngsters to learn how to interact with animals.

    I think no blame should lay with Lexi or her Mum, but I do think the rehoming centre should have been a lot more responsible. A large dog in a confined space with a young child and not ideal in any world.

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  35. My very limited experiences with dogs have been very good. On one or two occasions, when dogs have tried to get aggressive on me, I found that it was some fault of mine and that the dogs are reluctant to fight or bite. I've got to be careful from now on.

    Being vocal about danger is better than following etiquette and letting children be children.

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  36. John, wise words indeed!

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  37. I sat at an outside cafe table with my Collie dog and my friends' two rescue dogs - a Red Setter and a golden Labrador. They had the dogs just 6 weeks ago - both had settled down well, but needed obedience training. Lovely temperaments, friendly to people and dogs.
    A young child approached as though to stroke the lab, and the mother asked, "Is she OK?" explaining that they also had a Golden Lab. My friends nodded and the little girl gave Goldie a hug round her neck and kissed her muzzle!!!!! OK, she was fine - but I was horrified and scared stiff that she would bite the child. Afterwards, I told my friends this, but they said they knew she'd be OK and that it was all part of the dogs' experiences. O.M.G.!!!!!! Is it me???

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