Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dangerous, Uncontrolled and Uncontrollable

Surreptitiously parents and grandparents inventory every newborn baby. Ten fingers. Ten toes. Two eyes. Two ears. Two feet. Two hands. Two legs. Two arms. Erin Ingram of Lithonia had two arms to hug her mother around the neck and wish a Happy Mother’s Day for seven years. Then in March, she was attacked by two dangerous, uncontrolled, and uncontrollable dogs, which dragged her down the street. Neighbors tried to help, but DeKalb County Police Officers had to shoot one of the dogs, before the child could be pulled free. Erin lost most of one arm and the hand and five fingers that came with it. She remains in the hospital, eight weeks after the attack. Other recent Atlanta area dog attacks included a 12-year-old permanently disfigured, a 69 year old woman hospitalized, and a newborn killed--by dangerous, uncontrolled and uncontrollable dogs, pitbulls in each of these cases.

The owner of the two dogs that attacked Erin Ingram has been charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor under current Georgia law, and could face a maximum jail sentence of one year. South Georgia Rep. Gene Maddox, a retired veterinarian, has proposed legislation to require the owners of dogs qualified as vicious or dangerous to pay for victim's medical expenses and for those dog owners to carry insurance policies to help cover those expenses. His bill in the Georgia legislature never made it out of committee this year, but he plans to introduce it again next year. "If you don't restrain your dog the way they're supposed to be restrained, whatever they do, you need to be held accountable for it," Erin Ingram’s father said. The State of Georgia will not allow you to drive a car without insurance, just in case your stupidity or negligence crashes into or runs over somebody else, kills them or ruins them for life. Or their children.

According to the CDC, more than 16,000 people were bitten or attacked by dogs in 1994, “a good 6% of the victims needed one or more forms of reconstructive surgery. In 2001, that number rose to an alarming estimate of about 80,000 people nationwide, and 22% of the those needed extensive hospitalization and reconstructive surgery. And from that 22%, one-third of the victims were always children 7 years and younger. Infants or children who have not yet learned to walk are the most vulnerable, constituting almost all of the cases of the victims who were under 7 years of age.” In 2005, 82% of all the dog attacks in the country involved Pit Bulls, the CDC reports, with Rottweilers ranking as the second most dangerous dog. Other known dog breeds that have a lengthy record of dog bites and attacks are: Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Huskies, and Saint Bernards.

People will argue about dogs and dog owners. Who’s to blame? Dangerous dogs or irresponsible dog owners? While you are arguing, think about the victims, born with 10 fingers, two hands, two arms. My wife, who loves dogs, loves children more. She says, “When I go outside, the sky to me looks very blue. Does it look blue to you?”


Tina said...

I agree with you 100%. You should be getting more responses to this because I posted the link on Facebook so my FB friends could access it.

Yvonne said...

What a tragic, tragic situation! That poor child! Those poor parents! It breaks my heart to think about it. I think a lot of dog owners forget–or perhaps enjoy–the fact that dogs are generically wolves. That is why they are so loyal to their pack (family). But because they are wolves, they MUST be socialized.

First and foremost dog owners have to concerned about the safety of others. I admit that my Sheltie is very protective and creates quite a barking show when strangers come around. However, she is 11 1/2 years old and has never bitten anyone. Shelties are sheepdogs, and she can be scary when she feels her flock (family) is threatened; therefore, she is NEVER outside of our fenced-in yard off leash. Also, I taught her firmly and early that people are NEVER for chewing on. I did the same with my toy poodle.

Of course, the safety of children and adults should be the most important consideration. But even if a dog is not dangerous–perhaps a cherished and loving pet–why risk the safety of your dog or cat for that matter?

Because of the problem of unleashed dogs in our neighborhood, I do not walk my dogs down the street on a leash because of all the dogs running loose. Leashed, they and I (holding the leash) would be vulnerable to stray dogs!

My dogs stay in the fenced-in yard--watched until they come back in. My cat is very sad, but safer, because he is confined to the indoors.


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