Of Experts, The Community, And Dangerous Dogs

As a lot of you know, we had a community hearing last week to fight the appeal of the dangerous dog designation that was put on the Golden Retriever that bit O’s ear off.

We shouldn’t have had to be there.

How many of you would have disputed that your dog was dangerous, when it had come out into the street, jumped on a little girl’s back, grabbed her by the ponytail, and dragged her across the cul-de-sac and into the ditch, where it proceeded to bite the majority of her ear off, her back, and her neck, enough to put holes in her hood and all kinds of abrasions on the skin? We also heard in statements to the police, that the dog had pulled their own daughter to the ground by her hoodie and dragged her until her shirt came off in his mouth. There were other acts of aggression towards children, and one other involving their son. He was brought to tears, and was only able to get the dog off of him by grabbing a stick and throwing it.

I love my dog, but had he done that to someone’s child he wouldn’t be alive when they got back from the hospital.

Do you want to know what makes me the most angry? The fact that this dog is only two years old, and we had to fight to have him condemned, possibly to death.

This, and probably all other acts of aggression that he has displayed could have been prevented by responsible pet ownership. Dogs are animals, and possess a huge amount of animal instinct. They can’t be just left to keep themselves occupied, and allowed to roam free. They have to be treated like dogs, they have to be taught how to behave with humans, and they have to have restrictions. They also need to be contained to your property. Apparently this dog has gone to obedience school with the family, so unless it failed miserably, I would say that the family hasn’t kept up with the training. If they had been on top of it, the dog would know better than to play so rough with kids.

Yes, rough play that got out of hand was what the “expert” said it was. He also said that the dog was provoked because she put her hands up and backed away from it, then was screaming when the dog attacked. It was also provocation when her friend was screaming and kicking the dog while trying to get it off of her. Luckily her friend’s mom was out walking and heard the screaming. She was able to run out and get the dog off of O. I don’t want to even think about what would have happened had she not been there.

This is the guy who says that he probably has more experience at this than anyone else in Ontario. I guess he means at assessing aggressiveness in dogs, or maybe just for the courts. Either way, he ran us through a scenario in his pompous, condescending tone as to how this whole thing may have gone down. He figures that when O put up her hands, that was the dog’s cue that it was playtime. The dog then jumped up, put his paws on her shoulder, and was biting at her hoodie. In the excitement, he mistakenly got her ear and hair, and it was sliced off with all of the movement. He said that he had done a 54 point aggression test with the dog, and he only scored 1 on the test. That was because he had attacked, so he had to mark him 1 instead of 0. He then said that he was told that the dog had growled at another dog, so he could have given it a 2 because of the growl, but decided not to.

Now, I suck at math, but isn’t he saying that by his scale, a growl at another dog is equal to amputating part of a girl’s ear while dragging her into a ditch? This is the scale that court cases must go by too, because he is an expert witness for the Province Of Ontario, and apparently has provided assessment for four of the six fatal dog bites that have happened in Ontario since he’s been doing this. Is this the same bullshit that judges and juries have believed in the past? {I’m adding this in after the post was written, but I just found out from a friend, that they had hired this guy to help with their dog that was always trying to run away. Apparently he did nothing to correct the dog’s behaviour, but still charged $350 for his service.}

I tell you, that when he said that veterinarians weren’t trained to handle dogs until recently, I thought I was going to pop. It was when Mrs. B asked him if he had used a child with a hoodie for any of these tests, because obviously the dog is only aggressive with children that are wearing hoodies. She explained that this is why the vet reports don’t show signs of aggression, and the dog wasn’t aggressive with him. I thought I was going to choke him when he outright told me that a dog wouldn’t respect him, a probably six foot tall man, over a ten year old girl. Anyhow, that was when they shut the meeting down, and said that they had enough information. When they came back from discussing it, they said that they were upholding the dangerous dog designation. The only thing that was changed was that instead of a small enclosure, they could securely fence their property with a six foot fence with gates. That was in addition to the dog having to be muzzled, on a one metre leash, and under care of an adult when it’s not in the house or yard. They also have to let the township know within two days of moving or selling the dog, or the dog’s death.

This one just looks nicer.

Hello, Clarice.












I don’t understand why anyone would dispute these stipulations in the first place. If it was my dog and my kids wanted to keep it, we would be seeking professional help to get this problem in check, and it wouldn’t be from the guy that they already hired for this. I would be far too worried about the dog getting a hold of one of my own kids when no one is around. We have Blue and the girls registered for classes at All Creatures Great And Small in Cobourg, for his growling and snapping issue, and we are hoping to incorporate the lessons into the blog. We will have to let Heather give a final “okay” on it before it gets published, but whatever. I can probably write without swearing if I have to. I think I did it in this one, didn’t I?

I kid. You all know how much I like to support small business and locally made products, so if you’re ever in Downtown Cobourg, stop in there and say hi. Heather, Theresa, or any member of their staff will give you the most knowledgeable advice, and the best service around. They try to sell Canadian made products wherever possible, and they have the best lines of top quality food and treats in the land. They are proud members of the community, and I feel good about supporting them. I should also point out that I haven’t been paid in any way, shape, or form for this promotion, but like them, I like to give back. I have always been treated well there, and I really do appreciate it.

Speaking of community, I want to thank everyone for showing up at the hearing to show your support. It meant so much to both of us to see so many of our friends and neighbours take a part day to pack council chambers. I also want to thank the tons of people that sent messages by the many means of social networking that we have available. You guys mean the world to us, and I don’t know what we’d do without you. (or should I say “yous”? hee hee) We’re hillbillies around here. It’s nice to know that we all have each other’s backs when it comes down to it, and this was proven when they had to tell you all where the spare chairs were, because you had filled all of the seats already.

Totally not us. We had way more amazing friends.

And when we both get older, with walking canes and hair of gray,



16 thoughts on “Of Experts, The Community, And Dangerous Dogs

  1. Glad you got a better set of restrictions on this creature, my eldest cousin was mauled by her uncles two alsatians when she was about 3 or 4. She already had cerebral palsy and further damage from birth complications and didn’t stand a chance. My mother tells me that she remembers washing the red jumper she was wearing at the time and seeing more and more blood come out of it. Horrific. We didn’t have to deal with a court though, the vet gave my Dad a sedative to give the dogs in some food then he took them down to the vets and they were destroyed, no owners consent necessary. This was 20+ years ago mind I’m sure it’s all changed now though. My opinion is the first time a dog attacks a child the dog is finished, no ifs or buts.

    • Oh, that’s awful. I’m sorry that happened to your cousin, and the rest of your family. Yes, you can’t take a chance on a child’s life.

  2. I understand the love dog owners have towards their dogs; however, putting their dog before someone’s safety is just plain unacceptable. I’m sorry you guys had to go through all this situation.
    Oh and the “expert” can go fuck himself.

  3. I think there was a ‘bullshit’ or two, but I forgive you.
    Situations like this, being a dog owner as well, makes my stomach turn. So, very, extremely unfortunate YOUS had to go through that. Love the community support – as it needs to be 😉

  4. I wonder if that expert has children and if he’d pop his own child in a hoodie and left to play near that dog. What the hell sort of scoring system is there that a dog who HAS attacked and maimed only scores a 1?

    • Yes, that was brought up on a few different occasions, Nichola. I don’t think anyone bought his brand of bullshit. Thanks for the comment.

  5. It is just beyond comprehension that given the dog’s history that they were not made to have it put down. Expert my ass. As said previously, he should have been made to put his own child in a hoodie near the dog and then see how he scored the beast. (if he does not have a child, I will provide the hoodie for the expert to wear should he want to do the test himself.) All the best to you and your wonderful family Chris.

    • Thanks, Ethel. I don’t think we will see him around these parts too often, but I’ll keep that hoodie handy, just in case. 😉

  6. I am so glad O is doing so well and the decision was upheld. I want to punch the “expert” in the face. As well as the dog owners.

    One question, will someone be doing follow up to ensure the conditions are being met? I would hate to see the owners not follow through and no one checks on them, then this happens again.

    • We are assuming that the bylaw officer will be handling that, and the neighbours will be reporting if they see anything out of the ordinary.

  7. It is so extremely simple. Dog hurts human child … Dog goes away. Now “goes away” is what is up for debate, I guess… but either way it doesn’t matter what the dog THOUGHT was going on. The dog DID WHAT IT DID and needs to be out of the picture regardless. Because a similar innocent act could happen again and the dog could think it is “playtime” again.

    I have a story about catching a runaway dog that is somewhat similar to this story that happened to me the other day that I will post on my blog soon. Though, nothing bad happened at all. The only similarity is the owner’s complete and utter negligence.

    But in the end, I am pretty sure that is all it comes down to.

    • Yep, you got that right. If you don’t want to take care of a dog. DON’T GET A DOG!

      I am eagerly awaiting your post.

      Is it ready yet? How about now? Now?

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