Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Apparently Pit Bulls Aren't Allowed to Behave Like Dogs

I saw a clip on Youtube today that showed a pit bull "attacking" a child. I think this was from SpikeTV, but I'm not sure what television show it was. A narrator described the whole event as it unfolded. He used incredibly sensationalized language throughout, leaving the audience under the impression that this poor child was going to be torn to pieces by the rampaging maneater.

Meanwhile, what was really happening in the clip was 100% human error. The dog was obviously just playing; at first it jumps up on the child, wagging its tail in greeting. The child panics and runs (and if this kid had ever had any dog safety education he would have known better) and the dog sees this as an obvious invitation to play chase. The dog chases the child over several vehicles, bounding playfully, tail wagging. The panicked kid then tries to hide behind an adult. The adult swings at the dog wildly, and the dog sees this as a fun game too and dances around just out of reach, still trying to get at the kid, who is clearly, to the dog, playing a fun game of hide-and-seek. The dog grabs at the kid's pants several times.

Then the most "vicious" part of the attack. The kid falls down, and the dog manages to bite the poor kid's head. Yeah, that probably hurt, but have you ever seen dogs playing? They bite each other on the head all the time. This is just a dog having a great time with a playmate. The dog immediately lets go and bounds off. The kid's clearly not too badly hurt; he starts running again!

Finally a policeman intervenes, but things just get worse because the cop's an idiot too. The dog grabs the kid by the pants and drags him down. The cop grabs the kid and starts pulling against the dog, and wow, now the poor kid is a tug toy. The dog's still having a great time, tail still wagging. The cop, like the other adult and the kid, is apparently terrified of this dog because he won't touch it. Instead, this guy decides to shoot the dog. So he pulls out his gun and fires it at the dog's head... which is attached to the kid's pants which are inches away from this child's leg. One sudden tug on the pants in the wrong direction and the bullet would have hit the kid, not the dog.

Obviously, once the dog is hurt, playtime is over. The totally confused and injured dog seeks comfort from the humans it was playing with, but the cop points the gun at the dog, and it wisely decides to go away. The video ends there, with the smug announcer thanking the fates that the heroic police officer was there to save everyone's lives.

The whole thing nauseated me. The three humans in the video were flat-out stupid. If anyone who knew the first thing about dog behavior had been present, there would have been nothing to videotape. The kid started the whole thing by running away. The adult (parent? dog owner? not sure) should have swallowed her fear, grabbed the dog by the collar, and established control, not waved her hands limply at the dog. The police officer should have grabbed the dog, not the kid. And someone should have called animal control! At least they (usually) know what they're doing.

And someone in the media needs an earful for the absolutely propogandist narration. That's right, scare us and shock us, make us believe we're actually seeing a child get mauled, but god forbid you actually use this opportunity to educate us about dog behavior and how to avoid situations like this.

I am positive that this whole incident happened because the dog was a "scary, evil, vicious" pit bull. That's why the kid ran away in the first place, and that's why the adults were unwilling to touch the dog. If the dog were a Lab or something like that, then everyone would have been calm, and the dog's behavior would be "cute", and everyone would have had a wonderful time. Idiots, all of them.

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