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Louise Glazebrook

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What Makes a Dog Maul a Child?

Posted: 21/10/2013 18:13

Last Friday, another child - a girl of eight - was mauled by two large dogs, this time in Glasgow. She is currently still in hospital receiving treatment for severe facial injuries. News reports state that the child was playing outside when the owner walked by with the dogs, who then attacked. There are no details as to if the dogs were on the lead, or if the child knew or approached the dogs, or how the attack was instigated.

When a dog attacks, it's very easy to play the blame game, but it's not always that simple. Any dog can attack when forced into a situation where they feel threatened or scared. But a lot of the times these attacks take place, they follow a pattern: How the dogs were reared, their socialisation with other dogs and humans, their environment, food, amount of exercise, and if male dogs, whether they've been neutered... It's a complex number of factors that bring a dog to attack.

If this was the case of a human attacking another human, the investigation would dig deep in to the history of the perpetrator: Had they been a victim of violence or abuse themselves? What was their education? Do they have a history of substance abuse? It has to be the same with dogs. The same rules need to be applied; it's pointless putting down the dog and prosecuting the owner if we learn nothing about how the attack came to happen: What was the temperament of the parents of the dog, why was it bred, where was it bred?

On Gumtree, upon searching for 'dog for sale' in the UK, nearly 7,200 adverts come up. Dogs are now bought and sold like disposable objects, with people breeding, selling and buying dogs on a whim, without the proper thought, consideration and preparation it takes to ensure you're bringing the right dog into your life.

A dog becomes aggressive and attacks because at some point in it's life, (even in the breeding process; not the breed of dog but the nature of the dog's parents, and the breeder themselves), bad decisions were made that consequently, resulted in the dog attacking a human.

We need to get to the bottom of why this most recent dog attack came about. Yes, the dogs will have been put down, and the owner will doubtlessly be prosecuted, but finger pointing and knee-jerk reactions aren't helpful in preventing further attacks from other dogs.

All we're left with now is yet another child whose life has been ruined by yet another preventable dog attack.

 

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