I Think I’m With the Police on this One

If your dog bites a police officer, chances are that your dog is going to get shot.  That’s unfortunate, but that’s a fact of life.  If you don’t want your dog to get shot by the police or you want to have a credible way to dispute the police officer’s account of what happened, keep your dogs in the house where you can control them and witness the police’s behavior.

Knoxviews has a post this morning about a Knoxville police officer who shot a pitbull that bit him.  It just got me thinking that you could almost make a checklist for these kinds of incidents.

1.  “Pitbull” as a term used very loosely to mean “scary dog of terrier extraction.”

2.  Intact male.

3.  Dog unsupervised outside.

4.  Dog chained up unsupervised outside.

5.  Inadequate shelter for dog.

6.  Owners of dog insists dog is friendly and no one has reason to be afraid of dog and yet owner seems to have taken great lengths to ensure dog

a.) appears scary

b.) absolutely cannot get off chain

7.  Owners involved, even tangentially, in illegal activities.

Shall we check this incident against the list?

1.  Eighty-five pounds?  Short legs?  Thick fur on his chest and upper body?  Didn’t we just used to call those junkyard dogs?  Please, this is a pit bull in the sense of it being a large dog of terrier extraction.

2.  That appears to be a testicle peaking out in the picture of Kobe.

3.  Yep

4.  Check

5.  Plastic hut does not cut it.  Other than keeping the rain off them, what does that do?

6.  Look at the size of that chain.  Kobe was supposed to be a scary dog.  Is anyone surprised when he acted like a scary dog?

7.  Appears so.

I only have one quibble with CBT over at Knoxviews.  S/he* says “I sometimes feel sorry for responsible pit bull breeders and owners who treat their dogs with proper care. These dogs are more aggressive by nature, but so are other breeds.”

Sing along with me, folks, “Pit bull is not just a breed, it’s a type, and a job description.”  “Pit bulls” when you look at the number of bites and attacks they’re responsible for and then consider how many breeds of dogs (and mutts) which get called pitbulls and average them out, they’re not biting or attacking more people than other dogs their size with similar temperaments.

It’s like this.  Say you were tracking girl bites.  You noticed that Susans bit 6 men a year on average.  LaTonyas bit 5.  Marias bit 10.  Jennifers bit 15.  And Phillipses bit 60.

Well, damn, it would look like us Phillips women were problem biters.  But, if you consider that there are twenty different women all considered Phillipses, the numbers start to look different.  Bs might bite 10 folks a year.  As might bite 12.  Cs might bite one.  Ds might bite 20.  In other words, if you counted us the same as you’re counting everyone else, you’d find our behavior is very similar.

But because we’re convinced that it’s the Phillipses who are the problem, we count them in a way that reconfirms their problem status.

I believe it was Say Uncle that pointed this out–I’m going to give him credit for it any way–more than breed, more than training, more than upbringing, the one overarching consistancy in dog attacks is the dogs are usually unneutered males.

That’s a problem that’s easy enough to solve.

Fix your dogs, folks.

*Yes, I did use that formation just to annoy you.

24 thoughts on “I Think I’m With the Police on this One

  1. Worth noting that dogs restrained with tethers tend to be more aggressive as well. I am trying to figure out why the officers got within biting distance. Otherwise, I concur.

  2. If you look at how the other dog is tied up, he appears to be on, maybe, a laundry line. Look how long it is. It just loops and loops around.

    I think it’s possible that Kobe wasn’t always on the short chain, but was on a similar tether, in which case, I don’t think it would have been possible for the police officer to judge a safe distance from the dog by the time he noticed the dog was coming at him–especially if what he says is true and the dog was not barking.

  3. I agree with you both in that:
    A) Un-neutered males are more aggressive and are usually involved in biting incidents.
    B) Tethered dogs are more aggressive.

    But as SayUncle points out, why did the officer(s) get within biting distance? There was a sign in the yard, right? Wouldn’t they use caution at that point.

    My question then becomes: Did the dog bite the officer and let go or bite the officer and hold on?

  4. B.,
    Good point (as my Sophie has a cable line that we use when we’re all outside together), but I still go back to the sign in the yard. Shouldn’t that be a heads up?

  5. Pingback: SayUncle » Dog Shot By Police

  6. out of interest, if a plastic hut isn’t shelter enough, what would you recommend for a doghouse?

    i’d been considering those plastic “igloo-style” doghouses and some straw bedding for my huskies, mostly since i’m too lazy and clumsy to follow the instructions for “doghouse out of a 4-by-8 piece of plywood” you can find on some dogsledding websites. either one, with some bedding and some way to prop them up off the ground a bit so snow and mud won’t seep in as much, would keep my dogs happy as can be — but would i be shortchanging them?

  7. Ha, Nomen, I got as far as your question and was all “A dog house needs to be up off the ground a little bit (or have some kind of lip at the doorway), dry bedding, and some kind of flap over the door in the winter” and saw you pretty much said the same thing in your next paragraph. I also think each dog should have its own shelter, even if they prefer to sleep together.

    One igloo house is not enough for two dogs, especially as large as they’re claiming the one dog was.

    But it seems like a white house in the summer is a good idea. I wonder how warm it’d be in the winter, but with enough bedding…

  8. NN
    B. can correct me if I’m wrong in my interpretation, but I think the idea of plastic hut being inadequate shelter has a lot to do with this dog being tied up in this 100 degree heat with only a plastic box to get out of the sun. And that plastic box wasn’t cool inside–it didn’t stave off the heat.

  9. Yes, exactly. I think a plastic shelter is better than no shelter, but how much shade and way out of the sun is that plastic providing? It doesn’t look like much. I mean, I can see, in that photo, that the inside of the plastic is dirty, which means that light passes pretty easily through it.

    That’s not the shade and shelter a dog needs. That would be my other concern about them.

    If I had to keep dogs outside, I’d really prefer a setup like . My neighbor has this (not as fancy) setup for his dog and the dog seems to love it. When the weather’s nice, she sits in the doorway, but when it’s not so great, she can kind of tuck on that other side of the door and get out of the weather.

    On the Petsmart website, you can get a wooden dog house not quite as fancy as the one I linked to that is the same price as the igloos.

  10. I suppose my whole problem with the dog “shelter” issue is the intended purpose.

    See, to me, when you own a dog, that means you want to take care of that dog, love that dog, make that dog a part of your family. It means you are prepared to have that dog in your home. It means you are prepared for dog fur on your furniture, muddy paw prints on your floor, and the occasional chewed shoe.

    My Sophie cannot be left unattended and untethered outside the home. For instance, we would put her on her line in the morning so she could go do her “business” in the back yard (this is at Casa de Fleaflicker–not her current urban situation at the Undisclosed Secret Location), but her periods of being tied up lasted about 5 minutes. She’d get things done and be back up on the deck, and I’d let her in and giver her breakfast. Any time she wanted to go outside for longer periods, she was being diligently monitored.

    Now I’ve owned dogs that have loved to spend a good portion of their day outside. They spent their days sniffing, and pooping, and peeing, and chasing squirrels. And that was fine. They were trainable enough to never leave the yard or go into the road, so we never had to tie them up. But when they wanted to come into the house, they were let in. And if no one was going to be at home, those dogs were in the house.

    So I guess I just have a problem with people who get dogs and leave them out all the time. People who rarely, if ever, invite their dog into the home don’t really need a dog. I’ve had too many problems with neighbors over the years who have dogs they really don’t want. We fed a neighbor’s chow for years, and were finally able to convince her to find the dog a better home.

    Recently my brother had to rescue a neighbor’s dog who had dug its way out of its fenced enclosure and got it’s collar caught on the fencing. The 100 lb dog has never been allowed in the house and lives in a 5′ x 5′ fenced area. The owner was sick and in the hospital and we supposed had asked her son to care for the dog. Well, the son really never came by. So the dog was suffering. The neighbor could have asked any one of us for help, but didn’t. I’ve called the Humane Society on this person several times because of the neglect of her animals. After this recent incident, they finally came and took the dog.

    Currently I live next to folks who have a Rotty pup (a 75 lb pup) who they leave tied to a tree or, more recently, locked in a 2′ x 3′ kennel on their back stoop. In the heat. They have 4 kids who don’t play with the dog. The dog barks all day. The dog regularly gets out and runs around the neighborhood (the reason I can’t let Sophie out on her line for 5 minute morning pees). They keep saying what a bad dog he is because he doesn’t mind. Well…? What do they expect?

    I suppose I just have a general beef with folks who get dogs and just leave them outside all day. If you don’t want a dog to be part of your household, then I don’t see as you should have a dog.

    I’m sorry I went on a rant…

  11. On dog houses, I built mine. It is made of 2X4s and OSB. The space between aOSB is insulated with newspapers. It has two rooms so pupster can get away from the wind. It also has a carpeted floor, some nice vinyl siding and a shingled roof. And it weighs about 300 pounds.

    But I tend to over do things.

  12. In one sense I agree with The Editor, but having a dog house doesn’t mean one locks there dog out of the house 24/7. I think dogs should be part of the family and not left on their own for extended periods of time (dogs are pack animals, and being by themselves is hard on them), yet to keep the dog food flowing, most people have to work. So I don’t mind if a larger dog is left outside during the day and when they are, they’ll need shelter.

    I dunno about TN, but in VA it’s illegal to have a dog chained up to a fixed point however. They need to be on at least a runner (which is good because it at least reduces the chance they’ll get the rope tangled around anything, and also will “give” a little more if the dog takes off after something so as not to jerk so hard on the neck when the rope runs out of length).

  13. Growing up we had two dogs, both Brittney Spaniels. We for the most part kept them in the fenced in backyard, because esecially the first one, she just liked to run too much and chase birds for us to keep her inside. But come rain, or extreme cold/heat, she came indoors.

  14. i agree about dogs being family members. my problem is that one of my dogs would, if i allowed it, rather live outside in “her” back yard; since she’ll spend hours each day out there anyway, it’d be nice if i didn’t have to watch the weather and call her in when it rains.

    (she’d still have to put up with eating and sleeping indoors. oh, the caninity.)

  15. Oh! Cover my butt time. I never meant to suggest that having a dog house for your dog meant that you neglect your dog.

    A lot of dogs L-O-V-E to be outside on their own for extended periods. I don’t have a problem with people leaving their dogs in an enclosed yard while at work… if the dog is cool with it. I do, though, have a beef with those folks who put Fido out while they are at work, and Fido proceeds to bark and bark and bark all the livelong day. The dog isn’t happy (and it may be a separation issue in behavior that the owner needs to work on with his/her dog) and the neighbors are being inundated with yapping all day.

    My big beef is getting a dog and then just putting it out. The End. Sure, you can make sure it has food and water. And sure, you can give it shelter, but YES, it is a pack animal and needs the companionship and leadership that being part of the human household provides.

  16. Yes, and most definitely if the dog likes to be outside, and the owner can make sure that the dog’s welfare and the neighborhood’s welfare are all squared away, then by all means, let Fido be outside.

    As I’ve said, I’ve had dogs that spent the majority of their day on Squirrel patrol. Far be it from me to rain on that particular parade.

  17. what’s “OSB”?

    OSB = oriented strand board. For all intents and purposes it servers the same purpose as plywood, just looks and is manufactured slightly different.

  18. “the igloos are actually fine” – except when you fall off the porch, bounce off the dogloo, fall some more, and land your butt on a water spigot. Just sayin’. :)

  19. Pingback: It’s Like I’m Psychic « Tiny Cat Pants

  20. Want to start your private office arms race right now?

    I just got my own USB rocket launcher :-) Awsome thing.

    Plug into your computer and you got a remote controlled office missile launcher with 360 degrees horizontal and 45 degree vertival rotation with a range of more than 6 meters – which gives you a coverage of 113 square meters round your workplace.
    You can get the gadget here: http://tinyurl.com/2qul3c

    Check out the video they have on the page.


    Marko Fando

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