Dog attacks: bad news, good news, and help at hand

A couple of items in the news today about dog attacks:

Melbourne’s Age newspaper reports this morning that an 11 year-old boy was mauled by two dogs in Far North Queensland. Unfortunately this is an unremarkable story, except of course for the boy and his family; as well as the dogs (who will be ‘destroyed’) and their owner.

Which brings us to the other, more encouraging story – ABC online reported yesterday that “The New South Wales Government is shifting its strategy on controlling dangerous dogs away from banning breeds to targeting individual menacing dogs” – surely a move in the right direction.

Blaming particular dog breeds for aggressive behaviour is ignorant and old-fashioned. Any breed of dog can be conditioned to behave well or badly.

Reducing the risk of dog attacks is really not rocket science – it’s just that governments are busy and it gets pushed down the list behind terrorism and everything else. There are just two things that would make a huge difference:

  • Dog owners must be compelled – by law, and preferably through social methods like advertising campaigns – to keep their dogs safe.
  • Kids need to be educated about how to deal with dogs. Most kids learn either that dogs are friendly (especially if they have a family dog), or to be feared. Neither belief is useful for avoiding or minimizing an attack. One visit per year by a behaviourist or vet to a primary school would be ample to educate kids sufficiently. This could probably even be arranged for free – as a marketing opportunity for the practitioner (I’ll give this a try at my step-son’s school and report back!). Or what about integrating it into the existing ‘life education’ curriculum (along with ‘say no to drugs’, healthy eating, etc)?
  • As a sidebar – parents of young children need to be reminded that they need to be supervised at all times. – Although I suspect that the very parents who need reminding are the ones who would pay the least attention to such a message.

Any other suggestions? Leave a comment.

…and of course HoundTV is getting involved too – our resident veterinary behaviourist Dr Jacqui Ley will reveal a few tips on preventing dog attacks for both dog owners and parents, on the show in a few weeks.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Written by Steven in: Dog-related news |


  • The Chicago Tribune had a particularly compelling article about three pitbulls who rampaged a neighborhood.

    Comment | Fri 18 August, 2006
  • Lisa Blackwell

    Hi Hound TV;- I read with interest the article about the dog attacks. I am pleased to advise you that the Victorian State Government has had a program in place for the past 7 years. It is run out of the Department of Primary Industries/Bureau of Animal Welfare & is funded by dog & cat registrations. This program attends open days, pet expos, safety expos, Royal Melbourne Show. But more importantly, it visits ALL Victorian Primary schools, kindergartens & preschools. The program has trained, police checked Pet Educators ( 66 of them across the state )who take in a temperament tested dog., They spend up to 3 x 40minute sessions in the schools & up to 4 X 30 minute sessions in kindergartens & preschools. In the preschool setting we spend up to 2 of the 30 minute sessions EDUCATING

    Comment | Fri 8 September, 2006
  • Lisa Blackwell

    continuing from my previous submittion. – EDUCATING the parents on “active supervision of children around any dog”. Supervision as you would with a child around water or near roads. The Kinder children & junior primary school levels learn many key safety messages – NO OWNER, NO LEASH, NO TOUCH!, How to safely say hello to a stange dog if it is with it’s owner, what to do if an angry dog comes up to them, (even if the dog is belongs to the family or a friend ) & the also cover do & don’ts around dogs. The middle & senior areas of the primary school cover all the safety messages previously mentioned, & then expand into rights & responsibilites of owning a dog, pet care & selection, the impact of our pets on the navtive flora & fauna & ways to prevent our native animals from being effected by our pets. The lessons are taught to the children via large, colourful flip books, song, dance, roleplay & data projection presentations, stickers, & activities. The teachers are supplied with comprehensive teachers kits to help the children unpack these subjects.

    It is a fabulous program & it is a shame not more media coverage is given to it. I guess you could say the program is a “quiet achiever” – especially when you consider they visited 800,000 school children & 200, 000 preschool children. All of this is free of charge to the schools, kinders & preschools – it is funded by cat & dog registrations.

    Lisa Blackwell
    Dellkarn Rottweilers & Welsh Springer Spaniels.

    Comment | Fri 8 September, 2006
  • Lisa Blackwell

    I have just found the contact telephone number for this education program. The full name is Victorian State Government’s Responsible Pet Education/ Ownership . The telephone number is (03)9217 4321. The email address is Iknow as a parent I enjoyed their visit at my son’s preschool very much & what was taught seems to have made an impact on my Son, Connor.

    Lisa Blackwell
    Dellkarn Rottweilers & Welsh Springer Spaniels.

    Comment | Fri 8 September, 2006
  • Lisa,

    Thanks very much for pointing that out. It would be interesting to know how many other governments around the world are doing this kind of thing.

    Comment | Fri 8 September, 2006

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress. Theme: TheBuckmaker. Kreditkarte, Tiere