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Your Views: Teach children how to avoid taunting dogs

POSTED: May 3, 2012 12:30 a.m.

While the well-thought-out article in Sunday’s Times regarding dangerous dogs made some excellent points (the need to socialize and train dogs, the cruelty of keeping dogs chains, the fallacy of discriminating against one breed) it left out one vital one: The need to educate, supervise and control children.

A closer look at highly publicized and “unprovoked” dog attacks usually reveals a situation of kids taunting or teasing a tied-up dog. In addition, all too often, people expect a dog to passively endure real pain at the hands of a child pulling its ears, slapping its face or trying to carry it with an unbearable under-the-elbow grip.

I have seen a mother stand by while her toddler walked up behind a strange dog that was eating and slap the dog’s rear end. The mother then got angry with the person who prevented disaster by shooing the kid away.

I’ve also witnessed a boy of around 6 or 7 stick his face in that of a dog who was peacefully enjoying a bone. Quick action by another adult, and the fact that the dog was well-disciplined, averted tragedy.

Latest case in point from today’s news: a 1-year-old who was shaken and killed by a mastiff (not a pit bull) cross when the kid tried to pull himself up to walk by grabbing the dog by its skin and hair. The father was standing right there.

Michelle Crawford
Gainesville


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