Stop Biting People, America's Dogs

Illustration for article titled Stop Biting People, Americas Dogs

The number of Americans hospitalized for dog bites nearly doubled between 1993 and 2008. Nobody knows why! People have tried asking the dogs what's up, but the dogs just go "woof woof" or some-such. Not much info to go on.

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Come on, "man's best friends!" You can do better than this. Go for the treats, not the bad publicity.

Image Vortius/via Flickr

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DISCUSSION

CassandraSays
CassandraSays

Well, let's see, in that time period we've had the WTC bombing, multiple wars, economic meltdown, twice, and sundry other nastiness. I'm thinking the dogs may be both neglected and picking up on the stress of their owners.

Also, I'm seeing a lot of odd comments here. Hey, people - it's not just big scary looking dogs that bite. Lots of little yippy dogs bite too. Even really tiny terriers can be very aggressive. It's just that bites from big dogs do more damage.

It's weird the ideas people have about certain breeds. Now, me, I love huge dogs - if I had a house I'd have a Newfie, a Malamute, an Akita, or a Huskie (Huskies are probably the smallest dog that I love, actually, other than Collies, Austrialian Shepherds, and other herding dogs). In my neighborhood lives the biggest Chow I have ever seen (I think he's part horse). There's another guy locally who keeps trying to get me to adopt one of his pair of Malamutes, because they don't like each other and keep fighting, and if I did not live in an apartment and have a cat I'd be overjoyed to take the dog (and current owner is correct - not everyone can handle a Malamute, and you can pretty much tell right away whether or not someone is going to be able to).

But I'm fucking terrified of German Shepherds, because a. as a kid there was one in my neighborhood that would chase me and try to bite me, whose owners thought this was hilarious, and b. I used to live in Libya, where the wild dogs look a lot like German Shepherds, and I've been attacked by one of those too.

A lot of what I'm seeing here disguised as objective fact looks a lot like that. The difference is that I know where my fear of German Shepherds comes from, and that it's not logical to extend that fear to all similar looking dogs. I also know that often bad dogs were trained to be that way (hey there, family that thinks it's funny to encourage your dog to chase and bite the neighborhood children because it's just so amusing when the kids are scared).

What I'm saying is - please be reasonable, people. Some pitbulls are very dangerous, and some are total sweeties. You can often figure out which is which by observing from a distance, which is always a smart thing to do with dogs anyway, especially the ones physically capable of ripping your face off if they're so inclined.

I do think we as a society need to train dogs better, but we need to train people, particularly children, how best to approach strange dogs too. I've seen random kids run at and try to cuddle the big Chow that lives on my street. Luckily enough he's fairly well behaved, but wtf are their parents thinking? That dog could kill those kids without even breaking a sweat, and it would not be entirely the fault of the owner if he did. Please, parents, teach your kids not to do that with dogs they don't know. Especially the ones that are bigger than they are.

(But not the little ones, either. My cousin lost a chunk of his ear by taunting a minature collie. I didn't have any sympathy at the time, and still don't now - it was a dumb thing to do.)