10 Jan Bitten by a dog… Do you know how to keep safe?
I was involved in an incident in November 2016 and I feel it’s relevant to share my experience with all the dog lovers and responsible dog owners.
We’ll call the offending dog Tinker (terrier breed) as I feel she (along with the owner) should remain anonymous. Before I go into it you should know that the incident has been dealt with and the result is a positive one.
So, I am on my usual pack walk on a Tuesday morning. We’re finishing up and all heading back to my van. I spot in the distance Tinker and I begin to walk in the opposite direction. You’re wondering why…? Tinker is known for being uncontrolled and part of her breed specifics is to chase. Unfortunately Tinker absolutely lives up to this. I have all my 5 dogs on leads and I continue to walk away from her. She decides to run over to us and her owner slowly follows. I decide to pick up my most reactive dog to avoid a fight. Tinker chases one of my smaller breeds and manages to pin her down. What felt like forever was realistically only 2 minutes of scuffling. We were very fortunate that it was a cold day and my dog had her coat on. Tinker only bit the coat and I’m certain if the coat wasn’t there it would have been a different and much worse outcome. When I have any dog with me it is my absolute priority to make sure they remain safe so when my dog was being pinned down I remembered my first aid training. I grabbed Tinker by the scruff of the neck and forced them both together before holding her at a safe distance away from the rest of my dogs. If 2 dogs are connected by the teeth, it’s almost guaranteed that if you pull them apart you’ll leave either one or both with lasting damage to their muscles etc. Pushing them together often gives them enough of a shock to let go or at least lose their balance and then release. This was the case here.
It took the owner a while to reach us but as soon as she did I gave Tinker to her and strongly advised she put her back on her lead with immediate effect. As you can imagine it was a very stressful few minutes and lots of adrenaline is pumping through my body. My main goal at this point is still what I aimed to do in the first place and that was to get as far away from Tinker as possible.
What I should have done at this point was to take the owner’s details. Name, address etc. Instead I took all 5 of my well-behaved dogs back to the van so I could check them over safely. I had my first aid kit ready to treat her as I saw blood on her white fur. Thankfully for me the blood was coming from my hand. Tinker bit me whilst I was separating her but I didn’t feel it. I was lucky that it was more of a graze than a puncture wound. If you suffer a puncture wound you will need a vaccination and a course of antibiotics. I just cleaned my hand up and bandaged it to avoid infection.
When something like the above happens, it is upsetting if a dog needs veterinary treatment but just the incident alone can affect future dog walks. It is very important for my dogs to enjoy their walk and a lot of planning and care goes into organising these pack walks. They all have their own personalities and it just takes 1 dog (no matter the breed or size) to disrupt this.
I keep up to date with all the dog type laws. Especially the PSPO’s (Public Spaces Protection Orders). Previously known as the Dog Control Orders so I know that all dog on dog attacks need to be reported as well as dog on person attack. I called our county dog wardens to inform them of this incident. They rightly advised me to contact the police with regards to my hand. The reason you are expected to notify the dog warden when a dog attacks another is due to possible escalation. Often if an incident like the above occurs it is more than possible it will happen again. Not just from the offending dog but from the attacked dog. It can make future walks an issue and sometimes give the dog a reactive attitude towards others they are likely to meet. After this incident, I made sure this pack had uneventful walks for at least a week. I wanted to ensure my dog was confident and they were safe before attempting that same walk again.
So, I made a statement to the police and the dog wardens were made aware of Tinker. Unfortunately, (although Tinker was known to the members of the public for being a nuisance) the wardens didn’t have any records of her. It was quite difficult for them in the beginning as I could only describe the dog and owner, rather than give them her full details. Although the police easily managed to locate her and speak to her.
As it stands now Tinker must remain on a lead in public spaces. This is a brilliant result. I don’t believe it’s her fault for how she attacks dogs. There’s a few pros for Tinker being kept on a lead. Other dogs and members of the public are safe but Tinker is also. If Tinker were to bite someone else again they could consider having her destroyed. Tinker never seems to chase anything larger than herself but one day (if she didn’t have this order placed on her) a larger breed could have finish her off.
It’s regrettable this happened but it’s all a learning curve and it’s really made me aware of the dog laws.
(Bite once I cleaned my hand up)
As dog owners, it’s our responsibility to keep our dog/s and others safe. You could be breaking the law by having your dog ‘dangerously out of control’. It’s always useful to keep an eye on the laws as well as having good dog walking manners. I like to keep an eye on situations as they are happening along with being 10 mental steps ahead of my pack. As you can imagine lots of multitasking occurs every day in my job and it certainly keeps my mind active.
Please don’t let the breed or size of a dog discourage you from reporting an issue like mine. All dogs have teeth and can cause damage.
Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to hear from you and what your outcome was.
Please find helpful links below with regards to the laws. I’m being very modest but I believe we have the best dog trainers in Kettering. Click the links below.