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Animals are dangerous

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I own two cats, Hrothgar and Louie. Louie is the larger of the two and a great mouser. Hunting in the mountains where I live, he’s always leaving offerings at the door, mostly field mice but occasionally bats and birds.

I’ve observed that before he pounces on his prey, he hikes his hind corners and wiggles his butt. One day, I watched as Louie eyed a buck grazing in the brush. “Go for it, Louie,” I thought to myself. It was then that I understood Louie believes he is a full-size predator, a tiger of the mountains.

Occasionally, he snaps at me (he spooks easily–loud noises, sudden movements, etc.). I bat him on the head, and he goes back to being a cat. If Louie were a full size tiger I’d be in trouble. Fortunately, he’s a 12 pound fur ball.

The same can’t be said about a 100 pound hound. Recently, a twelve-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pit bull. The boy’s mother feared the animal might be dangerous and put the boy in the basement. Her son got out was mauled to death by the dog. Mom called the animal a murderer.

I call the “murderer” an animal.

Animals bite, scratch, pounce, chew and kill. It’s natural and it’s something we should accept.

On talk radio the other day, Uncle Matty (http://unclematty.com), an animal trainer, gave dog owners advice on how to care for their mutts. Several people called in saying their that dog barks at the kids, that Fido nips at strangers legs, that man’s best friend bites people on the face. These owners are crazy if they don’t understand that their animals are dangerous.

Please read life’s little warning: animals are dangerous, so treat them as such.

Maureen Faibish, the woman whose son was mauled to death, suffered a great loss, but she was responsible for her son’s welfare, not the animal. The same goes for any owner on a dog or cat, or ferret or rabbit or bird or snake. No matter what you think of your pet–“a member of the family” or “one of the children”–it’s an animal. Treat it like one.

If your dog bites, get rid of it or else take the necessary precautions to keep the animal from harming people. You’re responsible for the pet’s actions, not the pet, and it can be trained (certain animals will take more training than others; other types of animals potentially can’t be trained, like tigers–and, yes, people keep those as pets!).

My second cousin, an elderly woman was recently bitten and knocked down by a beagle. I don’t know all the facts surrounding the case, but it’s quite a serious affair. Pit bulls are not the only animals that can hurt people. What surprises me is how many people are ignorant of their animal’s capabilities. That ignorance is plain unacceptable.

How many owners take time to train their animals? It’s remarkable how a well-trained animal responds to people and to situations. Police horses are trained to withstand the stress of rioting crowds. Seeing eye dogs are trained to help guide their owners through life’s obstacles. But many people spend too little time with their animals.

They haven’t read up on the subject. They haven’t considered the long-term responsibilities. They don’t provide enough space for their animals to roam. They don’t observe their animal’s characteristics.

I had a neighbor whose dog barked endlessly for hours each time the owner was away. The owner didn’t know what to do. I suggested the animal not be left alone or that someone come by periodically to keep the dog company, relating that once when I came by at three in the morning the dog quieted down after I spoke with it for a few minutes (really, it is amazing what a little company does for an animal). Since that conversation, the dog really doesn’t bark much, and I’m guessing it’s not left alone as often.

I noticed that another dog owner in the neighborhood put a wire fence around the property. His two dogs frequently came out on the road, barking at passersby. The dogs still bark, but now from behind a protective fence. No problem.

Animals are dangerous, but more so when their owners don’t take time to understand their pets. We shouldn’t ban breeds of dog, but we should ask that owners make a greater commitment to training of their pets, perhaps through licensing. We owe it to society… and the pets.

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  • Duane

    Evidently, simply spaying a pit bull (or any other male animal) reduces aggression. But the problem is that a lot of people use pit bulls as guard dogs, and would never hear of such a thing. House pets should be spayed or neutered as a matter of course, anyway.

  • dee

    The animals are just animals. The owners of these animals need to be held accountable when they keep a dangerous dog around kids. Who owned this dog? If it was the woman, she should have known better.

    I had a mixed beagle once that was blind in one eye and if you sneaked up on him, he would snap at you. We had a party once. I tied the dog out at a pen and warned the parents of little ones to that he might snap at them if they were not careful. One kids parents just let him run. He ran down and stuck his hand in the dogbox and the dog bit him. The father just shrugged, and said, ‘You were warned..’
    the kid was only about four years old so I think Dad was responsible.

    I believe there are dogs out there who should not be allowed to live just as there are pet owners out there who should be jailed because they are so irresponsible when it comes to their animals and watching them around children. But most of us are responsible owners. We care about our animals and the children they come in contact with.

  • Lets see. I’ve never known what life is like without a dog (25 years). We’ve had all kinds, from shepards, yorkies, chow-lab mixes, mutts, etc. I’ve never been bit.

    I owned an alligator. Never got bit.

    I’ve had two snapping turles. Never got bit.

    I have been bit by a salamander, crab, lobster, ferrets, snake, plated lizards, iguanas, uromastyx, birds, and possibly some other species I forgot.

    My point? All animals do bite. The two most dangerous I owned, never bit. It comes down to how you handle them, if you know how, and how you treat them. With the exception of the ferrets, all of those animals bit me because I put them in a position where they felt threatned. My fault every time.

    If you know what you’re doing and raise the animal properly, you’ll never have a problem, regardless of the species.

    That woman was completely responsible for her sons death, and not even the slightest bit remorseful. Animals don’t kill people. Stupid people’s animals kill people.

  • Nancy

    I have never been bitten or hurt by an animal where I wasn’t in some way asking for it. Oppositely, as long as I have exercised normal care in dealing with a critter, I’ve never had one attack me gratuitously – including rattlesnakes, a bear, and myriad smaller creatures encountered out in the woods as well as my own extremely domesticated, spoiled rotten 5 kitties. In fact because they’re intensely trained & socialized, the cats don’t scratch, bite, or growl, even when getting their temps taken by the vet. When animals ‘go wrong’, it’s almost invariably the human’s fault for being careless, less than respectful of its capabilities, or just plain stupid…and that includes kids, most of whom very early on know darn well NOT to touch the doggie or kitty or what have you, but do it anyway, and their idiotic parents, who don’t make a move to enforce discipline, then have the gall to complain about the animal. It’s unfair the onus should be on the animals instead of where it belongs, on the people.

  • Dawn

    We can’t get people to be responsible for their children, good luck teaching them to be responsible for their pets. This is a society of people who truly feel NOTHING is their fault.

    Sad, truly sad.

    But, a good post!

  • Welcome back, Dawn:)

  • Mihos

    Have any of you read about this fellow Adrian Apgar ?
    He was attacked by an alligator while smoking crack naked by the water’s edge. If this doesn’t beat all…Nature was attempting to help humankind via natural selection and the gun toting deputies had to arrive.