An old photograph of a Pit Bull with a baby.

Image via Wikipedia


Ok, on a very serious note today, it is heartbreaking to read the story of the 5-year-old boy from Phoenix City mauled to death by as many as 12″mixed breed” dogs.  The boy was evidently playing in his Grandmothers backyard with a family dog when the other dogs entered the yard and mauled the boy  The details are sketchy at this point, but it appears at least some of the dogs were able to break free from a neighbors fenced in yard.

So…the question becomes why did these dogs attack the boy? It seems at least part of the reason is obvious. Once these dogs begin to run as a pack, they act as a pack. One theory is the pack of dogs acted out in a frenzy after attacking the boys dog. Dogs running in a pack will likely develop predatory tendencies, therefore, making a small  boy appear as a small animal.

Dogs as pack animals will often seek dominance over other dogs in the pack if they are able to. A pack dog seeking dominance will resort to aggression as a means to elevate his status, or gain status among the rest of the pack.

Dogs will also act out in fear or uncertainty. The sudden movements and sounds from the boy while the pack was attacking his pet most likely created some of the chaos, causing the dogs to react to  his movements. A dog that is already excited by aggressive behavior from one source  (an already dominant male in the pack) could use his behavior to release even more aggression on an unsuspecting boy.

Another interesting aspect to this story is the news story The media showed video footage of the “supposed” pack dogs being held at the nearby animal control awaiting euthanasia. The interesting part of the piece was that they showed all Pit Bulls. However, when researching the story, I discovered they were not Pit Bulls, but a variety of mixed breeds. I just found this to be an interesting part of the story. Was it just assumed they were Pit Bulls and for expedience sake they ran video footage of their local shelter and Pit Bulls?

 It’s no secret by now that I do own a Pit Bull, and every time I see a story regarding a Pit Bull attack it makes me worry about the future of the breed. I am a staunch believer the problem lies with the dog owners and not the breed themselves. If you own a high energy animal but subject him to the end of a chain staked in your back yard for his entire life, you are going to end up with a very powerful frustrated animal that will create absolute havoc if he is ever able to break free from his shackles. Unsuspecting small dogs or children will become an instant target due to the dog’s natural “dog” tendencies and repressed frustration.  I don’t have the statistics but I would bet all of my tequilla drinking money for the next year that the vast majority of these dogs are not altered. I can speak from experience that neutering my dog greatly reduced his dominant behavior. It’s just a simple fact that has proven itself repeatedly, however, many dog owners refuse to take the time or spend the money on a simple procedure to protect their families or other animals.

It’s a very horrific story with a tragic end and I hope we as dog owners can learn a few lessons from yet another dog attack. Keep your dogs from roaming free, preventing them from forming packs, neuter or spay your animal, and make sure you own a breed of dog that best fits your lifestyle.


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